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Russian Special Forces : What Guns do Spetsnaz Use ?

In modern wars, a significant place belongs to special reconnaissance and sabotage operations conducted in the enemy territory. For such operations, armies of the developed countries have special squads and units. They are designed to covertly penetrate into the enemy’s rear, conducting intelligence for a long time and, if necessary, the destruction of important military facilities of the enemy, as well as other specific tasks. To carry out such operations, special forces fighters of the Russian Federations need a wide variety and effective weapons. Almost no restriction in terms of choice is applied for them : their service rifle is (almost) a personal choice. Most of them were created for the needs of special forces, counter-terrorist units and special services. Of course, the very fact that the weaponry of “special forces” does not yet make it a special purpose weapon. Here, for example, it is possible to allocate the “special” mention to weapons with a considerably lowered level of noise when shooting on a target at close range, but many of them are qualified as “special” thanks to different particularity like ergonomy or the use of penetrating bullets.

Spetsnaz assault rifles

As always among automatic rifles appreciated by russian special forces the Kalashnikov family and derivates have a lot of success. Almost every operator is already familiar with their classical sight and barrel lenght, the recoil shock, what muzzle is better to use, etc… Most of the time, special operators prefer to use some accessories to customize their models. However many other assault rifles were created for the needs of special forces. Models like the AS VAL, the 9A-91 and the SR-3 are very appreciated for their highly perforating ammunition : the caliber 9x39mm. They are devastating firing at a short distance and very effective at a long-range too. Some other experimentations and prototypes like the Shak 12, Ots-14 Groza, A-545, AEK-971 and the KBP ADS are already in use with some units after they passed all tests that certify them as “good to work”. But finally it always depends of the choice of operators themselves.

Here is the Shak 12 in action, enjoy :

Russian DMR rifle

Very appreciated by the VDV (Russian Airborne Forces), the VSS Vintorez is an excellent carbine to fight from a long distance or in an urban environment. It’s the most silent weapon of the russian armory, it also use the powerful caliber 9x39mm like the AS VAL, the SR-3 series, the Ots Groza and many others… With its selector switch, the soldiers can be more self-confident : when the enemy came to close from them, to switch it from semi-automatic to automatic mode and empty a full mag into their direction will be highly dissuasive and can help for a retreat (if the threat has not been neutralized). Russian engineers also worked on the capacity of these models to be accessible for not “rich” units. In fact, the budget of the russian military complex is allocated in function of the level of unit needs. In accordance to that, police special forces receive less founds. That’s why the VSK-94, for example, was optimized to be a solid DMR for urban fights (the 9A-91 is a little bit less stable and not optimized for such a use because of its foldable stock). The OMON (the equivalent of the SWAT) use it in priority because of its low cost and high efficiency in difficult situations. Its suppressor can be removed for easier transport in buildings.

Still pretty rare, the new modification of the VSS Vintorez, the VSS-M (M for modernized), is a semi auto suppressed marksman rifle developed to be apart of the program Ratnik. That program is aiming for the modernization of the russian military gear with new armors, clothes, and of course, weapons. The new VSSM is more ergonomic, with a regulable cheek pad on the upper part of the stock and regulable buttstock. With its multiple Picatinny rails, it also provides operators the possibility to fix their own scopes, a bipod, a flashlight (the efficacity of such an accessory isn’t prooved on such a rifle), a laser and more. Already in use with FSB, its presence was signaled in the Syrian conflict.

vss vintorez ratnik suit

Soldier of the VDV (Russian Airborne Forces) with a VSS Vintorez.

Spetsnaz submachine gun

Submachine guns (SMG) were among the most widely issued weapons used by Soviet infantry during World War II. However, up to the collapse of the soviet union, they were almost not produced anymore. Only after the 90s manufacturers was launched the production of new models of small arms for special forces : probably the answer for a precise demand of certain governmental services, attempting to fight against the hardcore corruption raging in the streets. So they were in need of a new type of compact, ergonomic and low-cost SMG.

Today, the FSKN (Federal Drug Control Service of Russia), the FSO (Federal Protective Service), the FSB and many others special forces of the Russian Federation are using these full auto models, very practicals, not only to clear rooms in buildings but also to work with a heavy visored helmet and a ballistic shield like the Vant-VM. With the PP-19 Vityaz, the compact and modulable SR-2M “Veresk” is the most popular among elite units who have sufficient funds to equip themselves correctly. It’s still not the case in each region of Russia.

Spetsnaz from the FSB with a SR-2M Veresk

Russian sniper rifles

They’re less seen on the front of the scene, for sure. However, the work of a sniper is more complex and requires the operators to engage the enemy from a more far distance. That’s why most of these russian snipers are not seen even for parades or photo shooting : their effective range is much higher than classical rifles. There are still a few ; in service since a long time among them is the semi automatic rifle SVD “Dragunov”, also known as “Tiger” in its civilian version. Created now a long time ago (seeing how fast the production of armament is changing, due to the use of know materials and manufacturing process), it’s still an actual sniper rifle in use with special units and some squads attached directly to the russian army. Time of the Mosin is no more actual, modern bolt action rifles have been optimized some times ago for sniping purposes : only a single shot has to be fired to neutralize an enemy. The SVU-98 is more likely to be used in town for counter-terrorism operations. it’s rare to see on the field other snipers like the VKS Vykhlop and the KSVK 12.7 : they use anti-material munition and they’re heavy, in result Spetsnaz use them only in very special cases to get more firepower.

Some shots with the SV-98 :

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