Tag Archives: Russia

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).


atacs fg gorka ratnik ghille pants russian 32x31

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Russian Military GSSH-01 RATNIK Active Headphones for Shooting

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Original Russian Army Military Flashlight FSS-014 Ratnik

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Russian army Spetsnaz 6E6 Multi-Tool Folding Knife (equipment set «Ratnik»)

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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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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


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


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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).


ANA M2 Black Plate Carrier FSB MVD VDV Russian Army Spetsnaz Alpha Vympel Vityaz

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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 Timofeyevich Kalashnikov Face Window Decal White 4 x 5.25

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The inventor of the AK-47. Autograph of Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov

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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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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.


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Vintage Soviet Block Romainian Leather AK Sling W/ Buckles 

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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.