Category Archives: Russia and also USSR

Ian McCollum Interviews Max Popenker Who Shares His Deep Knowledge On The History Surrounding the Design of the AK-47

I’m definitely a fan of the AK-47 rifle and am always looking for more insights about the history and design. Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently hosted Max Popenker, who is a Russian small arms researcher and publisher of Modern Firearms – one of the original firearm research websites. Between the two of them, there is a ton of knowledge.

The AK-47 design was the result of collaboration and competition amongst designers and didn’t happen magically overnight.

Now the video portion is ok but what is really cool is listening to Max unravel the history that led up to the AK-47 rifle’s design – the desire by the Soviets to develop a system of small arms, the influence of German small arms, and other Russian designs.

Here’s the Video


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


AK-203 Reliability Testing Video From Kalashnikov Media

Here’s an interesting but short video of Vladimir Onokoy, who is a Technical Advisor with Kalashnikov Media, showing the AK-203 undergoing environmental testing – freezing cold, desert sand, rain and a combination. Vladimir is speaking in Russian but there are subtitles and it’s not surprising that the AK-203 performs well.

Going from the freezer to the test range
Covered in very fine sand that is blown on and into the weapon

Here’s the Video


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


My Favorite AK / Kalashnikov T-Shirts – May 2019

As my wife will tell you, I like T-shirts and, of course, I like AK rifles so the two go together! There are so many cool designs out there these days, I thought you might like to see them. Plus, since they are on Amazon, you know you will have their excellent customer service backing you up.


I hope you have some fun looking at the photos at least plus it is time to get ready for summer and having fun outdoors!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


India Will Make 75,000 AK-203 Rifles, But Is It Better Than the Traditional AK?

In March, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated the Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt Ltd factory that will manufacture 75,000 of the AK-203 assault rifles. The AK-203 is the current model of the AK service rifle chambered for the 7.62×39 cartridge.

A common criticism is that AK rifles aren’t very accurate. Vladimir Onokoy, a technical advisor to the Kalashnikov Concern assembled this video to demonstrate how the 203 can accept modern optics, has a repeatable zero and can deliver acceptable accuracy at 100 meteres.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


My Cool New Kalashnikov Coffee Cup

Guys, I must confess that I have a coffee addiction 🙂 As most of you know, I am into AK rifles as well. As part of that interest, I have read every biography I could find of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to try and better understand what led to the creation of the AK-47 and the eventual family of Kalashnikov designs.

Recently I was searching on Amazon and surprisingly found a coffee cup with a great photo of a young Kalashnikov that was tastefully done and, of courcase, had to order it. I had to wait a few weeks as it shipped from Germany.

When it arrived, I was surprised that the graphic was a different color than what the Amazon ad depicted. I thought about returning it but I do like the cup. The following shows you the cup that arrived – it is pretty cool and the color has grown on me.

My wife’s reaction was “Why did you buy another coffee cup?” To which I answered “But honey, this is Kalashnikov” at which she just turned around while shaking her head 🙂

In case you are looking for a conversation piece, check out this cup.

If you don’t see an Amazon listing, go to Amazon and search for: B07CMXMNNX


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


There is a Surprising Amount of Russian Ratnik Gear on eBay

Russia began evolving the weapons and gear their infantry were using in 2013 as part of an ongoing program known as “Ratnik” that translates as “warrior”. Gone are the days of throwing poorly trained and equipped soldiers into battle. What they are developing rivals any modern first world military force.

6B45 Ballistic Vest
6B6 Tactical Vest
6B47 Helmet
6sh117 All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment

In researching about Ratnik for a blog post I just did, I was surprised at how much gear has already found its way onto eBay. It goes to show how efficient the surplus market is I suppose plus that the program has been in effect for nearly six years at this point.

What can you find on eBay? In digging, I have found:

  • 6B38 MPL-50 Shovel
  • 6B38 60L RAID Backpack
  • 6B50 Ballistic Goggles
  • 6B51 Knee and Elbow Pads
  • 6E1 Water Filter and Pouch
  • 6E4-1 Watches
  • 6E4-2 Watches
  • 6E6 Multi tool
  • 6SH117 Tactical Vest
  • 6M2 Active Hearing Headphones
  • FSS-014 Flashlight
  • GSSH-01 Active Headphones

There are also a lot of hats, coats, uniforms, gloves and more. So, if you are wondering where you can find the modern Russian Ratnik gear, you definitely need to check out eBay and I created a live link to eBay where you can see posts that you can order:


Live eBay Feed You Can Order From


Russian Army Original Shovel RATNIK: 6b38 MPL-50 new generation! NEW!!!

$24.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 0:38:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original GSSH-01 green 6m2 Active Headphones for Shooting Russian Army RATNIK

$56.50
End Date: Tuesday Jun-4-2019 4:39:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $56.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Military GSSH-01 RATNIK Active Headphones for Shooting

$46.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-11-2019 2:28:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $46.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Authentic Russian Army Ratnik Knife Multitool 6E6 + Pouch EMR Digital Flora NEW

$60.00
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 0:11:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Tactical Vest 6SH117 Ratnik Russian Army. Digital Flora. New.

$155.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-9-2019 10:50:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $155.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Survival Knife Multitool 6e6 Ratnik with Pouch Koyote color

$75.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-18-2019 6:59:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RUSSIAN MODERN ARMY SLEEPING BAG "RATNIK" Original!

$112.50
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 4:59:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $112.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Ratnik dual-sided reversible camouflage suit 6SH122 Size L-XL/6,2"

$99.00
End Date: Friday Jun-7-2019 12:38:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Summer Suit RATNIK VKBO in Digital Flora. BTK Group! NEW! Size 60/6

$60.00
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 23:52:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Military Flashlight FSS-014 Ratnik

$29.90
End Date: Monday Jun-10-2019 20:50:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.90
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Ballistic Goggles glasses 6b50 Ratnik New with case/cover

$79.69
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 5:18:55 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $79.69
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army 6sh122 Ratnik ISSUE dual-sided reversible camo suit EMR

$125.00
End Date: Thursday Jun-20-2019 13:01:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian army Ratnik 6b50 tactical ballistic goggles with pouch

$64.00
End Date: Monday Jun-3-2019 16:52:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $64.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RUSSIAN MODERN ARMY SLEEPING BAG "RATNIK" Original! NEW!!!

$112.89
End Date: Thursday Jun-6-2019 1:02:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $112.89
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

6SH119 Russian Army Ratnik Suit Winter Camouflage. New!

$35.00
End Date: Monday Jun-10-2019 11:09:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NEW Russian Army GSSH-01 6M2 RATNIK Active Receivers Headphones for Shooting

$52.00
End Date: Saturday Jun-15-2019 12:49:50 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $52.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RATNIK VOSTOK RUSSIAN ARMY MILITARY MECHANICAL WIRST WATCH 6E4-2. BRAND NEW.

$99.00
End Date: Saturday Jun-8-2019 4:05:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian army JACKET VKBO moern BDU by BTK Windbreaker new VKPO Ratnik**

$24.90
End Date: Thursday Jun-13-2019 2:48:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $24.90
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ratnik Authentic Russian Army knife 6e6 Multitool + Pouch EMR Digital Flora NEW

$69.00
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:46:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $69.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GSSh-01-01 6m2-1 Russian army Ratnik active headset

$100.00
End Date: Monday Jun-10-2019 22:55:42 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Knee & Elbow pads 6B51 Ratnik in EMR Digital Flora Original Russian Army

$68.00
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 22:57:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ratnik Flashlight 6e2 Original Russian Army Military

$35.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-18-2019 2:22:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Knife Multitool 6e6 Ratnik with Pouch in EMR Digital Flora

$64.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-16-2019 2:10:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $64.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army 6M2 RATNIK Active Headphones for Shooting

$64.00
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 22:21:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $64.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Cover for Russian helmet 6b47 Ratnik multicam color NEW

$24.00
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 3:35:02 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $24.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Cover for Russian helmet 6b47 Ratnik Tan color for Syria NEW

$45.00
End Date: Thursday Jun-6-2019 21:18:14 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $45.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian army active noise cancelling headset 6m2 Ratnik kenwood baofeng uv82

$139.00
End Date: Thursday Jun-13-2019 13:12:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $139.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army 6sh122 Ratnik ISSUE dual-sided reversible camouflage suit Syria

$210.00
End Date: Thursday Jun-20-2019 13:09:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $210.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RUSSIAN ARMY 6b51 Knee Pad & Elbow Pad SET for Syria Ratnik Digital Flora NEW

$125.00
End Date: Friday Jun-21-2019 2:47:49 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

6B50 Original Tactical Goggles of Russian Army Ratnik Kit With Pouch EMR Digital

$79.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-16-2019 3:00:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $79.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

100% ORIGINAL Russia Army Helmet 6B47 "Ratnik" size 3 + cover. Not a Replica NEW

$200.00
End Date: Monday Jun-24-2019 12:49:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $200.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Ratnik Tehinkom 6B45 Vest / Body Armor , Digital Flora / EMR , Size 2

$200.00
End Date: Friday Jun-7-2019 5:22:49 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $200.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Military Soldier Tactical gloves 6sh122 Ratnik Uniform VKBO

$49.99
End Date: Monday Jun-17-2019 3:08:25 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army GSSH-01 6M2-1 Active Headphones for Shooting Ratnik NEW

$82.00
End Date: Saturday Jun-8-2019 15:20:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $82.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

6B34 Original Tactical Goggles of Russian Army 3rd Generation Ratnik glasses NEW

$68.99
End Date: Monday Jun-17-2019 12:18:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Tactical Goggles 6B50 of Russian Army Ratnik Kit VKBO. New!

$75.00
End Date: Wednesday May-29-2019 11:15:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Knee & Elbow pads 6B51 Ratnik in EMR Digital Flora - 6B52

$68.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-16-2019 14:36:44 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RUSSIAN ARMY ORIGINAL WATCH "RATNIK" EXCLUSIVE!!! GENUINE!!! NEW!!! 2018!!!

$173.99
End Date: Saturday Jun-22-2019 13:25:53 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $173.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian army vest 6B45 hard Case molle.Size 2. Perfect for Airsoft!

$140.00
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 11:43:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $140.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Ballistic Goggles 6b50 Ratnik for Syria ISSUE New + Pouch

$100.00
End Date: Monday Jun-3-2019 10:42:53 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Photo source: By Vitaly V. Kuzmin – http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/524, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29469738


The Russian Ratnik Program – The Evolution of the Future Infantry Combat System

In past blog posts, I have featured the modernization efforts of the base Kalashnikov rifle that resulted in the 5.45×39 AK-12. What many people do not know is that this was just part of a much broader Russian program to create a future infantry combat system. The name of this program is “Ratnik” (Ратник) that translates as warrior.

While R&D started ear;lier, prototype Ratnik kits for the first generation components were delivered in 2013. Firearms, optics, communication, navigation, uniform, load bearing and body armor elements were accepted into service on October 23, 2014. Approximate 200,000 sets were delivered by September 2017, and 100% adoption is estimated in 2020 of the Ratnik-2 system. Ratnik-3 hasn’t been released yet but the suit will include a powered exoskeleton to improve strength, speed and stamina.

Overall, what you are seeing is a concerted move away from the Soviet doctrine of volumes of relative untrained and marginally equipped armed forces personnel (all branches exclude Spetsnaz) to that of a professional modern force of trained and well equipped soldiers.

Soldier with an AK-12 rifle with a blank firing adapter. He is wearing a 6B45 ballistic vest, 6sh117 lightweight individual carrying equipment, and, 6B47 helmet.

Soldier with an AK-12 rifle with a blank firing adapter. He is wearing a 6B45 ballistic vest, 6sh117 lightweight individual carrying equipment, and, 6B47 helmet. 6B50 Protective goggles, 6B51 knee and elbow pads were part of Ratnik also.
Better view of the 76B47 helpes with covers and the 6B50 eye goggles.
This is the 6B46 tactical vest
Improved communications capabilities.

The Videos

The following video is in Russian but affords the viewer a really good opportunity to see the Ratnik-1 and -2 equipment first hand.

The following is a brief video showing Russian Paratroopers doing drills in Pskov.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Please note that any images shown were extracted from the videos and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


Russian Army Original Shovel RATNIK: 6b38 MPL-50 new generation! NEW!!!

$24.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 0:38:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original GSSH-01 green 6m2 Active Headphones for Shooting Russian Army RATNIK

$56.50
End Date: Tuesday Jun-4-2019 4:39:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $56.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Military GSSH-01 RATNIK Active Headphones for Shooting

$46.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-11-2019 2:28:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $46.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Authentic Russian Army Ratnik Knife Multitool 6E6 + Pouch EMR Digital Flora NEW

$60.00
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 0:11:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Tactical Vest 6SH117 Ratnik Russian Army. Digital Flora. New.

$155.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-9-2019 10:50:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $155.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Survival Knife Multitool 6e6 Ratnik with Pouch Koyote color

$75.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-18-2019 6:59:15 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RUSSIAN MODERN ARMY SLEEPING BAG "RATNIK" Original!

$112.50
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 4:59:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $112.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Ratnik dual-sided reversible camouflage suit 6SH122 Size L-XL/6,2"

$99.00
End Date: Friday Jun-7-2019 12:38:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Army Summer Suit RATNIK VKBO in Digital Flora. BTK Group! NEW! Size 60/6

$60.00
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 23:52:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Original Russian Army Military Flashlight FSS-014 Ratnik

$29.90
End Date: Monday Jun-10-2019 20:50:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.90
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Spetsnaz 2018 – Training and Combat footage

This is an interesting video that is a collection of both training and combat footage. Absolute Production assembled it with some catcy music in 2018 and I noticed the date stamp on some of the drone footage was 2015.


The video provides a good opportunity to see weapons and tactics.

Here’s the Video


Please note all images are extracted from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Brief Overview of Russian RPK-16

At a tradeshow, a representative gives a brief overview of the RPK-16 light machine gun in 5.45×39. He highlights design features including the adjustable buttstock, full length Picatinny rail, 4 kilogram light weight, 96 round drum, ability to use AK magazines, free floating handguard, different barrel lengths and that the barrels can be changed in the field.

The RPK-16 builds on the innovations developed for the AK-12.
The RPK-16 in 5.45×39 can use a 96-round drum or standard AK magazines.

Here’s The Video


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Please note that all images are extracts from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


Russian KGB FSB Spetsnaz Special Forces Alpha Group Sniper T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 0:22:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian KGB FSB Spetsnaz Special Forces Alpha Group Sniper T-shirt

$23.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 0:22:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $23.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Spetsnaz Working Out With The PKM Machine Gun

Here you have a number of videos assembled to show a ton of shooting of the venerable 7.62x54R PKM machine gun by Spetsnaz operators.

You get to see the drills and they wrap up with some SVD and RPG action. Pretty cool.

Hand operated belt loader.

Here’s the Video


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Russian KGB FSB Spetsnaz Special Forces Alpha Group Sniper T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 0:22:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian Eagle KGB FSB Spetsnaz Counter Terrorist Special Forces Alpha T-shirt

$21.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-2-2019 1:05:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Russian KGB FSB Spetsnaz Special Forces Alpha Group Sniper T-shirt

$23.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 0:22:03 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $23.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list