Russia has always been the unusual kid in the classroom that is the world. Not quite European, not quite Asian, the Russians have for centuries struggled to find their identity. Sometimes they fall in with the wrong crowd, sometimes they get an inferiority complex and sometimes they go full art school and just get weird. But for all their ups and downs with communism, dictators, revolutions and world wars, they’ve always had a soft spot in their heart for military innovation. And thus in 1927 the Soviets developed the KBP Instrument Design Bureau. Something like a DARPA, their goal is to develop “high-precision weapon” and their poorly translated website inevitably will have you reading the text in a voice not unlike a Bond villain. Regardless, through its long history the KBP has overseen the development of numerous military technologies and innovations, ranging from small arms to automatic cannons. These automatic cannons, no joke, are made to use “depleted uranium enhanced armor-piercing shells.” And while I know nothing about what that means, it sure does sound dastardly.
Yeah, that’s the former president, current prime minister, and future president of Russia Vladimir Putin. His entire persona is based around shirtlessly wrestling tigers and assassinating political opponents and he has an 80% approval rating, so its no surprise that his state-run gun manufacturer makes some pretty crazy weapons. With all that said, two stand out from the rest. They are both submachine guns and to varying extents are in use in the Russian military and police. The first was designed by Salvador Dali himself (citation needed).
The PP-90M1 was developed in the mid 1990’s. It was designed to be an extremely compact SMG that could fire from a 64 round magazine, no easy task for the SMG class. It uses overpressure armor piercing ammunition which means the bullets (9x19mm) use far more gunpowder than is typically used for that caliber. This means it is capable of piercing steel plates at up to 800 rounds per minute. And none of that is too unusual until you see the weapon itself…
In order to house those 64 rounds, it uses an “innovative” helical magazine. This design is extremely rare, and though it can hold an incredible amount of ammunition in such a small space, it requires highly complex internal mechanisms in order to function properly. Except that it doesn’t always function properly, and that is one of the biggest drawbacks of this weapon. It has a far higher chance of feeding failure than any other type of magazine. That’s ok though, because when it shoots, it is a very, very powerful weapon. Which incidentally is also bad news for the PP-90M1.
You see, the charging mechanism to retract the bolt is directly above the barrel, at about an inch difference. That means in order to cock the gun you basically have to reach in front of it. Surely this can’t be safe. But then again, who needs safety when you’re a part of the vodka swilling Putin police.
It is rumored to be making an appearance in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which to my knowledge is the only video game to ever feature such a weapon. I actually am very excited to try this out myself. And speaking of crazy Russian guns developed by the KBP and featured in recent FPS games:
While I spent a lot of time crapping on the PP-90M1, this next weapon is actually a pretty intriguing gun. It is also a SMG, but it uses the traditional box magazine. Introduced in 2004, this weapon is now available worldwide, though only in use so far with the Russian Army and various Russian swat teams. It is part of a class of personal defense weapons, a sub-class of SMGs, made to capitalize of the armor-piercing capabilities of its carbine cousins. What is interesting about the PP-2000 however is that it has space to hold a secondary magazine, and that magazine can serve as the butt stock for the gun.
It can also be equipped with a normal folding stock, a la the Skorpion, and is capable of being outfitted with all sorts of additions like silencers, tactical lights, and all manner of sights. It is advertised as being superior to the FN P90 in that while it retains armor piercing capabilities, it also has increased stopping power by making use of jacketed hollow point rounds that have been overpressured. The gun is advertised on KBP’s website featuring soldiers, fully masked, to really emphasize the nefarious image of their guns.
The gun recently made an appearance in Battlefield 3 and has risen to the rank of one of my favorite weapons, especially in close quarter combat situations. With its extremely compact size, unusual design, and powerful capabilities, it looks like where the KBP failed in the 90M1, they got it right with the PP-2000. Oh, except that the bolt is still over the barrel.
Update: I have confirmed the PP-90M1 will indeed be in MW3, as per the following screen grab: