Tag Archives: Russia

November 10, 2019 – Russia Celebrates Kalashnikov’s 100th Birthday

On November 10th, 1919, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников) was born in Kurya, Altai Governorate, Russian SFSR (now Altai Krai, Russia). He grew up from humble beginnings to be known as the father of a very famous rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, or AK-47 as we know it in the West.

Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 Type II
Photo from Wikipedia

While he died on December 23rd, 2013, at the age of 94, he is still revered as one of the leading small arms designers in history. In memory if him, Russia is celebrating his 100th birthday today. Being a student and fan of his designs, I would like to also say, Happy birthday Mr. Klashnikov.

You definitely need to visit the memorial website that the Kalashnikov Concern is hosting – it is in Russian and your browser can translate some of it but not the videos. Click here to visit the site– knock on the door and click on various items in the study to learn more.

Click here to go to the Klashnikov Media site for the 100th birthday
Image copyright is Kalashnikov Media

Want to learn more about Mikhail Kalashnkov? Then I would suggest the following:

There are a lot of books on the rifle that also discuss Mikhail as you need to understand the designer (really the most publicized of the designers involved) to understand the evolution of the rifle. There is one book that I really like gets into more detail about the man and he even authored the introduction. That books is “Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man” by Edward Clinton Ezell.

If you want to learn more about the rifle, the best reference source is “AK-47: The Grim Reaper” by Frank Iannamico, now in its second edition.

Videos

There are a few brief videos on YouTube that touch on Mikhail’s life and let you hear different perspectives and see a number of different photos and videos of him at various events:




Without a doubt, Kalashnikov was a superb designer and it does seem very fitting to take a moment and remember him on his birthday. As always, best wishes to all and hope you find this interesting.


Please note that all photos used are the copyright of their respective owners or public domain. The stamp and rifle photos are from Wikimedia and the website screenshot is from Kalashnikov Media’s website.


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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.


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


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Russian army RATNIK VKBO Spetsnaz HEADPHONES system GSSH-01 6M 2

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Original Russian Army Military Flashlight FSS-014 Ratnik

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

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ORIGINAL MULTITOOL KNIFE 6E6 “Ratnik” RUSSIAN ARMY! + POUCH in EMR DIGITAL FLORA

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Russian Military NF-10 Filter Part of Ratnik

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Russian Army Military Soldier Tactical gloves Ratnik Olive 6sh122 Uniform VKBO

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Original Authentic Russian Army Military Flashlight FSS-014 Ratnik VKBO

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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


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SSO Partizan M Reversible Camo Suit MVD VDV Russian Spetsnaz Alpha Vympel FSB

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Russian FSB Conducting Exercises

This Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is focused on security within Russia. This includes counter-intelligence, border security, surveillance, organized crime, counter-terrorism and federal law violations.

In support of the FSB’s activities, it retains an estimated 4,000 special operations forces. Of course, one of the hallmarks of any special forces group is extensive training. The Grey Shop assembled the following video of publicly released footage from a variety of training exercises both land and sea based. I find the tactics and weapons of interest and most of this I have not seen before.

I’m always watching for small arms in these videos and you’ll notice there are AK rifles as well as AKS-74U, AS VAL, a Brügger &Thomet MP9, and PP-19-01 Vityaz.

Here’s The Video



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


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Understanding The Histories of Some of the Special Operations “Spetsnaz” groups in Russia Today

In the West, folks tend to think that Russian special operations groups, collectively termed “Spetsnaz” are one entity. In fact, there are many special operations groups in Russia both in the military as well as the police.

FTD Facts assembled a brief video focusing on a number of groups wherein he provides a historical narrative with photos as well as modern footage as well. It’s very informative if you ware wanting to understand a bit more about some of the Spetsnaz groups and how they were formed.

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.


All photos come from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


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

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Video of Anti-Terror Exercise in Russia in 2018

This is a video of a training exercise at the Kalingrad stadium simulating a hostage situation. Units from the FSB, police, Regardie and MOE were involved.

Parachute drop to the stadium
Going up a frozen ditch

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.


All photos come from the video and remain the property of their respective owner(s).


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

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

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

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Larry Vickers Interview in Russia – Is the AK Outdated?

During his visit to Russia in 2018, Larry Vickers was interviewed by
Vladimir Onokoy, a technical consultant with the Kalashnikov Concern, about Larry’s views on the traditional AK platform.

The two discussed a number of topics and I’ll just hit some personal highlights that I found interesting:

  • Larry mentioned that people get hung up on the design of the safety and the short sight radius but the positives of the design far outweigh the negatives. This is especially true because the safety works just fine once you get used to it and the addition of a good red dot is a game changer. I agree with both points.
  • Vladimir asked Larry his caliber preference. Larry said if he had to only pick one, it would be 7.62×39. That’s definitely my go-to caliber for the rifle.
  • Larry made a really interesting point – the tapers of the 7.62×39 and 5.45×39 aid in reliable feeding in the AK platform. The 5.56×45 is at a disadvantage because it does not have the same degree of taper. That caught my attention – I never really stopped and thought about the impacts of case taper on reliability given how to AK operates. Interesting point.

So, is the AK obsolete? In my opinion, it is an extensible platform but watch this interesting video and here Larry’s thoughts first hand.


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.


Mikhail Kalashnikov Military Cadet Hat Cap Birthday Commemorative Guns GSG-AK47

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General Mikhail Kalashnikov AK-47 Signed Photo Autograph Beckett Certified BAS

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Authentic Autograph of Mikhail Kalashnikov on rare book (with COA)

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Mikhail Kalashnikov book

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RUSSIAN KALASHNIKOV KNIFE AUTHENTIC WITH CERTIFICATE OF MIKHAIL KALASHNIKOV SIGN

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Soviet Union - Russia | Mikhail Kalashnikov 1947 AK-47 Rifle | Gold Plated Bar

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Mikhail Kalashnikov AK-47 Commemorative Coin Gold Plated (60th Anniversary)

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Very cool Military Motivational Video – The Devil Inside You

I like military tribute videos.  This video has a catchy song and the real neat thing is that it is in high-definition (HD) video.  It has footage of men and women from a lot of different militaries and branches including:  Austria, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden – probably more that I didn’t catch.

You’ll also get a chance to see quite a collection of ships, helicopters, uniforms, small arms, bases and what not – all in high def.  Very cool.  Here are some examples of the many cool videos they assembled:

Seriously, this is a cool video and a chance for a lot of folks to see other men and women serving their countries.  At 1:41, I got a kick out of the Russian operator wearing an “Infidel Strong” morale patch.

Here’s the 2017 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.


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POLISH Military Patches, Medals, Awards and Civil Decorations

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Watch This Amazing Video of Larry Vickers Shooting the AK-107 With No Recoil

Okay, once in a while I watch a video and my jaw drops.  Larry Vickers visited Russia and got to shoot a new AK-107.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will ever get to see this amazing piece of engineering on this side of the pond thanks to politicians.

The AK-107 is a chambered in 5.45×39 and uses a novel balanced gas system and the AK designator does not mean Avtomat Kalashnikova as we are so used it. Instead, it means  Alexandrov/Kalashnikov.

Larry dumped a 97 round magazine and I was stunned to see how little the rifle moved.  That is some seriously controllable accurate firepower.  The AK-107s rate of fire is rated at 850 rounds per minute and he dumped the drum!!  Seriously – wow!!

Watch this video:

Just a parting comment – They also make an AK-108 in 5.56×45 NATO and a lesser known AK-109 in 7.62×39.  I’m a huge fan of 7.62×39 and can only imagine what that round must be like coming from that mechanism – wow.


Here is the link to Larry’s book on AK rifles that he is selling directly and not through Amazon.


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.


80s Soviet Army 3-Cell Mag Pouch AK

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*HUGE Color Poster Soviet Russian USSR AKM AK-47 7.62 Kalashnikov MAN CAVE BUY!!

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Original Vintage Soviet carrying sling SKS AK NAVAL Blavk/blue clear stamp RARE

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AK47 Soviet USSR Russian Poker Hand Printed Men's Tee Shirt 968

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Original Vintage Soviet carrying sling SKS AK NAVAL Blavk/blue clear stamp RARE

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AK47 T Shirt Soviet USSR Russian Poker Hand Printed 100% Cotton

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Russian Soviet Army original canvas case for AK, RPK, SKS 106 cm/ 41" length

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AK-47 Soviet Army Kalashnikov Airsoft Assault Rifle/Gun -- metal/prop/M16 -- NEW

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The latest about the Vepr and Saiga import bans and the Kalashnikov Group Rebranding

gI_60121_Kalashnikov Concern

As you may know, in July 2014 the owner, Rostec, of the Baikal, Saiga and Vepr brands was put on the US sanctions list to punish Russia.  That apparently put a halt to about half of a 200,000 rifle deal being halted that they are now trying to find other buyers for and is hurting them financially:  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30404648

Kalshnikov group is trying hard to improve the brand’s reputation and has approximately 30 different brands in the works.  As of 12/5/2014, they say they are focusing on Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific markets and not the US.  What I would read into that is that they are not publicly pushing to get back into the US.  Given how huge the market is here, I can’t help but feel they are still trying to get back in but there isn’t any public information about their efforts.  The two following stories about their rebranding efforts are interesting:

http://rbth.com/defence/2014/12/05/kalashnikov_targets_expansion_with_large-scale_rebranding_exercise_41991.html

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/12/prweb12365634.htm

Unfortunately, as of today, December 14th, there are no indications that we are going to see the Vepr or Saiga rifles coming back into the US any time soon.  Putin’s friends are still making a ton of money and the sanctions aren’t changing his mind any. The problem with sanctions in general is that they sound good politically but often don’t work very well.

The change in ownership from the huge Russian conglomerate known as “Rostec State Corporation” to the private individuals of Alexei Krivoruchko and Andrei Bokarev hasn’t yielded any changes thus far.  The initial hope was that by moving ownership of the Kalashnikov to someone/or a group not on the named sanctions list would improve the situation but that does not seem to be the case thus far.

Bottom line, no changes or “cracks” in the import ban are visible via publicly accessible news stories and such.  It would look like we are stuck, and will be for the foreseeable future, on the sidelines still unable to import the Russian weapons.