Wanting to employ a less "fair" parametrical comparison one could quietly say that warfighters equiped with M-16(and even more M-4) has been in all the latest conflicts wastly outgunned ,outranged and outpowered by scarcely trained and inexistently protected "insurgents" armed with the most outdated versions of the export versions of AK-47 to the point that ,how anyone informed on the latest threat analysis in the filed well know, in the latest years has grown a very strong pressure in US/UK Army to even abandon completely rifles /carabines designed around 5,56 cartridges !!
Actually that is not totally fair. The Kalashnikovs that have out gunned and out ranged the western 5.56mm rifles and LMGs were actually PKMs, which are general purpose machineguns in 7.62 x 54r calibre.
GarryB i sincerely don't follow you here .
As a reply to the suggestion that testing rifles in extreme cold is not a fair comparison, I am suggesting that the advantage of long range accuracy is not really a fair comparison either for several reasons, including the conditions on a shooting range over a known shooting distance on a nice still day with good ammo and a well rested well trained shooter who is not being shot at and is not in fear of their lives. With a battle sight setting (ie 300m) an AK will hit a target from the muzzle to about 400m with a centre chest aimed shot. You wont be able to pick to hit the eye or a particular rib.
A hit at 600m is unlikely by either rifle so the conclusions are irrelevant. More importantly the lethality of both rounds at such ranges mean a hit would be largely meaningless anyway.
The following article "Biting the Bullet" , by Anthony G. Williams and Nicholas Drummond (i think that neither of the two need any type of introduction...)
Very respected authors on the subject.
Please GarryB read it entirely ,and in particular read pag 9 and subsequents - section "Issues arising from operational use" - ; the USA operatives forced to systematically EMPLOY JAVELIN ATGM as a SUPRRESSING WEAPON OF ENEMY INFANTRY POSITIONED UP TO 1000 m FAR will give to you some minutes of laughters , someone should contact KBM for some of those export weapons....
The latest model RPO would be ideal for such a role... and they would likely get 100 for the price of one Javelin.
What's funny is the Russians never really reported these same problems with the 5.45x39.
Well, if you read that article posted above the main problem with the 5.56mm is its inconsistency in wounding, along with lack of cover penetration and a related tendency to be deflected by even light material like twigs.
The 5.45 has the same problems with deflection, but its design ensures fairly consistent wounding performance, which, though reduced is certainly still effective.
Personally I think half the problem with the 5.56mm is that the US military and western "experts" really want a long range sniper round, when in actual fact all it is is a short to medium range attack round.
The problems the western forces came across in Afghanistan are the same issues the Soviets dealt with, except the Soviets were better equipped as each platoon had 7.62 x 54mm weapons like SVD and PKM weapons with them.
There is a reason the taleban are fighting at more than 300m from coalition forces... it is because they know they will get caned at closer ranges. When the Soviets were there it was 303s, now it is SVDs and PKMs.
Do you think it is a coincidence that the new LMG in Russian units is not a 5.45mm RPK-74, but is a much heavier and bulkier PKP (Pecheneg) LMG. The 7.62 x 54mm ammo is much heavier reducing the number of rounds carried, but the extra power and range is considered worth the extra weight.
Giving soldiers ammo to shoot at 600m+ is not enough... they need optics and training to hit targets at such ranges... I think a change in calibre would not be that effective because at the end of the day most soldiers have enough things they need to be trained to use... if the taleban start shooting from 900m I think the best solution is a burst of 30mm grenades from the local BMP-3M, not to have an entire platoon armed with SVDS rifles with 10x scopes and sniper ammo open up return fire.
Now more powerful ammo types with heavier projectiles designed to tumble on impact certainly wouldn't hurt even if it is not PC to say so.
A bullet through the chest is a bullet through the chest... demanding every shot kills is unreasonable and naive.
Of course using underpowered ammo is also an issue too.
No need to apologize.
I think it was necessary and am glad I have not offended you.
We are just sharing opinions after all.
To me the Pya is sort of like the Russian equivalent of the Berreta M9 that we use over here in the U.S. .
It's maybe not the greatest handgun on the market, and it's a bit heavy for the round it fires, but it's cheap (maybe a bit less so with the M9) rugged, and reliable, as well as decently accurate. It does the job, which is all a military sidearm really needs to do.
Of course given the choice between the two I'd take a Pya any day of the week, although that may just be my bias towards Russian guns
It seems to be a decent gun, just as the Barreta is a good decent gun.
The problem with the comments and myths that circulate on the web is it makes it hard to find the truth, so you often have to keep an open mind and be critical of the sources.
I remember back in the 1980s reading books from experts like Hogg and Weeks that called the Stechkin an anachronism... a throwback to the old broom handle mauser machine pistol. I also remember in the 70s a really cool West German pistol called the VP-70Z that was not a full auto pistol but had a 3 round burst fire capability. I also remember in the 1990s that Glock released a full auto model, and it made me curious. Why would they bother if it is so old fashioned. I then found articles and books by Soviet operatives that talked about the Stechkin like it was a wonderful weapon. Finally, in an issue of Combat and Survival, I read an article about a guy who had bought one and was testing it. He said it was heavier than a Makarov, but certainly not as heavy as a 45 ACP colt pistol. He said the trigger was better than on the Makarov and with its long barrel it was actually rather accurate... I think I remember him saying he was getting 3 inch groups at 20m which is very good... not in full auto of course... that was in single shot. He had read the western comments about it and had low expectations for the test and he said he liked the weapon a lot. The full auto mode tended to spray bullets a bit, but keep in mind... this is not some police carbine you would use at 100m plus. This is a weapon for emergency inside a room where a burst of bullets could mean the difference between surviving or not. Experience in Afghanistan with 9mm ammo has shown it is not super lethal, so multiple hits are the order of the day. If you can afford the weight even a small SMG is better than most pistols, but of course there are situations where a pistol is all you can use... personally I would have the suppressed model APS-B with a standard Makarov as a backup weapon.
So the VDV and naval infantry have adopted the Gsh-18 then, or is this just speculation? And what about the ADS?
Hard to say for sure... we have seen reports stating both weapons were tested and have passed the tests and are entering service... but no photos yet.
Are there better rounds? Sure! Are they worth the money it would take to replace the 5.56? dunno I guess that's a subject for debate.
They have introduced a steel tip round with a rear end made of lead that should improve lethality at any range or velocity. I think it will be the best way to see if the 5.56mm has a future or not. I suspect it will improve lethality, but regarding range I am not so sure. (It was never designed to be effective at more than about 300m anyway).
One problem the round does have however is a lack of penetration (a problem also encountered with the 5.56) and a tendency to ricochet when it hits hard surfaces, which is why MVD and FSB Spetsnaz are often seen using AKs chambered in the old 7.62x39 round, as well as compact rifles like the 9A-91 chambered in the subsonic 9x39 round. Neither round ricochets very often, and both are excellent at penetrating light cover (cars, walls, thick shrubbery, etc.)
Very true. Also the quiet nature of the 9 x 39mm round makes it useful for special forces too... phut phut.
Yes, I've seen quite a few pictures of in Chechneya of Russian soldiers using 7.62x39, also saw pictures Russian police or SF with AK-103. In terms of lethality, the 5.45x39 is much more lethal than the older steel core M43 bullets, and about as lethal as the M67 round. I wonder can the 7N22 match the penetration of a regular 7.62x39?
It is the old story a .22lr through the brain is more lethal than a 50 cal through the finger tip... unless of course that finger tip is rubbing your eye at the time...
The 5.45mm is lethal, but only if it makes it to the target. 7.62 x 39mm is less lethal but more likely to get through to the target and with correct shot placement it will kill just like any other round. Its stability in the body is countered by its extra mass and diameter to reach the target... even through quite thick trees.
This appear evident from the "double route" followed since then : AK-103 and AK-104 with 7,62 mm cartridges and AK-107 and AK-108 with Russian 5,45 mm and NATO 5,56 mm (the last aimed to export) .
This clear trend is even more reinforced by the modular design of the latest AK-12 capable to employ both 5,45 mm and 7,62 mm cartridges .
The 5.56 and 7.62 x 39mm weapons are for export. The Russian Army uses 5.45 x 39mm, 9 x 39mm, and 7.62 x 54mm ammo, with a few units in the north or backwaters using 7.62 x 39mm for its better penetration.
If the AK-12 enters service in the Russian Army it will be in 5.45mm calibre only.
In the same way NATO 5,56 mm or Russian 5,45 mm rounds performances in an engagement outside a village in Afghanistan would be ,obviously, almost coinciding because the physics fundamentals at the basis of theirs ballistic performances would be almost equal.
The difference is in the bullet design. The 5.56mm round relies on the bending forces as it travels through the target to rip it open along a point of weakness called the cannilure. This is an intentation around the projectile that the case is supposed to be crimped into to prevent the projectile from being pushed into the case during loading or handling. The 5.45mm round is much larger physically and longer and has a much better streamlined shape and a centre of gravity far to the rear. It also has a hollow tip and a small amount of lead behind that. The mild steel jacket rarely deforms but on impact the lead will move forward into the hollow tip area. Now normally mass moving forward in an object would actually normally improve the stability by moving the centre of gravity forward, but because it moves assymetrically (ie not evenly) it tends to randomise the tumble of the bullet which starts immediately on impact. The result is that after the first tumble the bullet tends to yaw 90 degrees and follow a new path in the target. This angle can't be predicted and might result in a trivial wound, but the added wound track increases the bleeding area and makes identification of the wound very difficult.
A normal 5.56mm wound from the front to the back clean penetration means the 5.56mm round is just starting to tumble as it is exiting the body, so you have a small wound in the front and a larger wound in the back and a straight wound channel to deal with.
A 5.45mm wound to the front of the chest might turn up or down or sideways... it could exit behind the shoulder or the hip, or through the rib cage. For a surgeon finding the exit hole and entry hole are a problem because they are not lined up and might be treated as two separate fragmentation wounds. The cavity between the wounds will not be treated and the patient will die later of internal bleeding.
Within 300m the 5.45mm round is effective... ask Vlad... he seems to be happy with it.
With better quality control, modern rifles, and a modern scope with ballistic computer and laser rangefinder the 7.62 x 39mm actually might become much more interesting. With such a heavy projectile the problems in the past was that it had a very steep trajectory so if you guessed wrong with the range you will probably miss. But with modern ballistic computers and laser range finders the guess work is removed and the heavy projectile will be less effected by cross winds and is not easily deflected.
In fact a new loading with more powerful clean burning propellent, and a lighter projectile... say a 100 grain bullet at 950-1,000m/s and you might have a very effective round for assault weapons that might be effective out to 500m. The large calibre will limit its long range potential but we are talking about an assault rifle cartridge, not a sniper round or MG round.
The 7.62x39 is better in some ways, but I think the 5.45x39 is the better cartridge in most instances.
And the Russian Army agrees. The AK-103s in Chechnia are in the hands of the MVD and FSB forces for very specific roles. In house to house fighting a round that will punch through walls and still kill is what they want... they don't care about accuracy at 300m.
The Russians are working on a new caliber for the AK-12, it's unknown whether or not this will be an intermediate cartridge to replace the 5.45x39,7.62x39,7.62x54R, or just will it just meant to replace just the 7.62x54R.
AFAIK they are happy with the 5.45mm and the new 6 x 49mm round was supposed to replace the 7.62 x 54mm only in MGs and sniper rifles. Of course they might have further developed a new round that could do both jobs, but from what I have read their main focus with small arms is to improve accuracy, and storability of ammo and also improve the propellants for higher velocities with cleaner burning powders, and also to issue the new ammo in clips so they can be more rapidly loaded into magazines, and also for plastic bags to be used to make the stored ammo water proof and storable for much longer periods.
You will find very small space for any claim of lethality of 5,56 mm rounds except for VERY REDUCED RANGE (in the area typical of house to house COIN combat and close range ambush ).
There are two important things about a calibre... one is bullet construction, and the other is shot placement.
The 5.45mm round has the bullet construction to be more effective than 5.56mm ammo at any range. Both have shot placement performance to 400m or so, which is rather more than either will be used operationally.
The 5.45mm round is acceptable to the Russian Army because they also equip their forces with PKP LMGs in 7.62 x 54mm, and SVDS rifles in the same calibre. If your platoon comes under fire from a target in a house 700m away it simply doens't make sense to equip every soldier in the unit with a powerful rifle with a powerful scope to return the accurate precise fire needed to deal with the threat. What does make sense is for the platoon sniper/designated marksman to locate the threat and engage, and also for the platoon LMG operator to locate the target and fire bursts at the house to stop the incoming sniper fire. If the SVDS armed platoon member can't get the target then the BMP-3M that is operating with them will level the house with a 100mm HE FRAG shell. If the unit is dismounted then the guy with the RPO PDM-A will line up the target, which at less than 1.7km is in range and level the house.
If there are friendlies nearby then a Metis-M1 cheap wire guided missile could be used too.
The point is that the Russian soldiers are not just equipped with 5.45mm calibre weapons. 7.62mm weapons are carried as standard. In situations where they might be useful extra weapons are brought in.
I remember seeing a photo in an english version of the French RAIDS magazine that showed a group of Russian soldiers going to relieve a hill side position. The guys coming out of the base all had beards and looked tired, but of the 5-6 people in view they all carried SVD rifles and the new replacement soldiers carried RPO-A rocket launchers in addition to the SVD rifles they carried. The position they occupied was on top of a hill with a good view 360, so they didn't bother with AKs, they just had SVDs and PKMs and disposable grenade launchers, plus base weapons like ZU-23 AA guns and 30mm grenade launchers.