Politics: 11 weapons used by Russia's elite Spetsnaz operators

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The Russian Defense Ministry recently announced that its elite Spetsnaz forces would be receiving "several dozen" new 2B25 "silent" 82mm mortar systems.

The Russian Defense Ministry recently announced that its elite Spetsnaz forces would receive "several dozen" new 2B25 "silent" 82mm mortar systems.

The 2B25's noise level reportedly "does not exceed that of a Kalashnikov AKMB assault rifle fitted with the PBS-1 silencer," while the system itself "produces almost no muzzle flash or smoke."

Spetsnaz special operators have a long history going back to the Red Bolshevik Guard, but little is known about them because of the unit's secretive nature.

The Spetsnaz are organized differently than US special operations forces in that they have units in multiple military branches, all with their own specialized training.

Numbering around 15,000-17,000, most Spetsnaz are comparable to US Army Rangers, but about 1,000 of them are on par with the US Army's Delta Force or Navy SEALs, according to the book "Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces" by Mark Galeotti.

It also makes sense that Spetsnaz forces would receive the new mortar system first, given that they usually "get the first pick of new types [of weapons], and also enjoy much greater freedom to customize and "mix and match"" Galeotti wrote.

Below are 11 of the most commonly used Spetsnaz weapons, according to Galeotti.

The standard Spetsnaz weapon, according to Galeotti, is some version of the 5.45mm AK-74 rifle. Seen here is the AK-74M, which is also the standard issue for much of the Russian Army. It weighs about 8 pounds and has a 30 round magazine capacity.

In May, Moscow announced that it would replace the AK-74M with the AK-12 and AK-15. As such, it's possible that Spetsnaz operators have already gotten their hands on the rifles.

Another AK-74 model that the Spetsnaz use is the short-barreled AKS-74U carbine. Also known as the "Krink", it was originally developed for the Spetsnaz in the mid-1970s and has a nifty side-folding stock, according to The Firearm Blog.

Some Spetsnaz operators sport a slightly different AKM fitted with a GP-25 grenade launcher. The AKM, which is a modernized version of the AK-47, fires 7.62 mm rounds up to 383 yards.

Spetsnaz snipers play an important role in the elite force, and they carry a variety of weapons. Although it's less commonly used today, some still prefer the SVD Dragunov, which fires 7.62 mm rounds and can hit targets up to 1312 yards out.

Another rifle used by Spetsnaz snipers is the SVDS Dragunov, which is an advanced, lighter version of the SVD with a folding-stock. It was originally designed for Russian paratroopers — the VDV.

Seen here is the bolt-action SV-98 sniper rifle, which the Spetsnaz have begun using more frequently. It usually has a scope with a range of about 1,110 yards, according to Galeotti.

For stealth missions, Spetsnaz are more likely to carry the VSS Vintorez silenced sniper rifle, which the soldier on the front right is holding. It fires a heavy 9x39mm round, according to Galeotti, but is not as accurate at long-range shots. This weapon has become a "trademark" for the Spetsnaz, and has been used a lot in Crimea.

THE PKP Pecheneg general purpose machine gun is Spetsnaz' main squad weapon, according to Galeotti. It fires a 7.62x54mm round, according to thefirearmblog.com, and began to be used by the Russian military in 2001. The PKP is similar to the US' M249 machine gun.

Another rifle the Spetsnaz carry is a 9mm AS Val. It fires subsonic rounds, which means the bullet travels below the speed of sound and conceals the snapping sound of supersonic bullets.

They also use the SR-3, which is a shortened version of the AS Val. It fires a 9x39mm subsonic round. It's intended for concealed carry and can be fitted with a suppressor.

For a sidearm, Spetsnaz operators generally carry the 9mm GSh-18. It's made for close combat, has an 18 round magazine and bullets that can pierce body armor.

Source: Pluse ng

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