Monday, February 4, 2008

Baryshev AB-762 and AVB-762 assault rifles (Russia)

Baryshev AB-7,62 prototype assault rifle, chambered for 7,62x39 ammunition

Czech-made LCZ B20 (AVB-7,62) prototype automatic rifle, chambered for 7,62x51 NATO ammunition

Diagram from original patent, issued to Baryshev for his delayed-blowback action

AB-7,62 / LCZ B10 AVB-7,62 / LCZ B20
Caliber 7,62x39 M43 7,62x54R or 7,62x51 NATO
Overall length (stock open / folded) 960 / 710 mm 1000/ 750 mm
Barrel length 415 mm 455 mm
Weight, empty 3,6 kg 3,9 kg
Rate of fire 750 rounds per minute 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds 10 or 20 rounds

Anatoly F. Baryshev designed its original delayed-blowback action in early 1960s. His design was very unusual for the time, mostly in the fact that it was a private effort - a thing, rarely encountered in Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Baryshev managed to find some support in the higher ranks of Soviet Army. Several prototypes were built and tested. New action showed its major advance - a significant decrease in felt recoil, but otherwise it proved to be unreliable under harsh conditions and inaccurate in single shots. Army rejected the design, but Baryshev and his supporters had been trying to promote this design till late nineties. During early 1990s Baryshev also cooperated with Czech company LCZ Group, which manufactured several prototype rifles in calibers such as 7,62x39 and 7,62x51. These rifles were displayed on several military exhibitions, but found no buyers, and apparently were dropped by late 1990s. In the mean time, Baryshev designed an unique large handheld caliber weapon, which fired 12,7x108mm heavy machine gun of 30x25B grenade ammunition (change of caliber required change of barrel, magazine and bolt). Because of Baryshev recoil-reducing action, this weapon can be fired from the shoulder, but it still had all drawbacks of all other Baryshev weapons - that is, insufficient reliability and insufficient accuracy in single shots, and accurate burst fire was also all but impossible from such large-caliber but lightweight gun with limited magazine capacity. It must be noted that Baryshev system allowed to build lightweight fully automatic weapons in powerful "rifle" calibers such as 7,62x54R or 7,62x51, which were controllable in full automatic fire; but this was the only significant advantage of the system over other, more conventional systems.

Baryshev action is a delayed-blowback system which is fired from open bolt only. Bolt group consists of four parts - bolt with tilting head, inertia piece and locking lever. When gun is fired, bolt group is released and goes forward at once, stripping a fresh cartridge from magazine. At the end of loading cycle, bolt with its head was stopped at the breech, while inertia piece still moved forward, rotating the locking lever and bolt head. The pivoting locking lever struck the firing pin, and fired the cartridge. Recoil of the shot tried to pivot the bolt head, but this movement was resisted by the mass and velocity of the inertia piece. Once the inertia piece was stopped and its movement reversed by the blowback action of the cartridge, it turned the locking lever to disengage the bolt from receiver. Once bolt is released, entire bolt group is moved back under residual pressure in the chamber. This sounds complicated as is, and the system never impressed anyone other than few high-ranking officers in Soviet army.

Walther P99 pistol (Germany)

Walther P99 pistol (1st generation)

Walther P99 AS (Anti-Stress) pistol, 2nd generation

Walther P99 QA pistol

Walther P99 Compact DAO pistol, 2nd generation (note extended slide release lever, which is also duplicated on right side of the gun)

Type: Double Action
Caliber:9x19mm Para, .40SW
Length overall: 180mm
Weight: 720g unloaded
Barrel length : 102mm
Capacity: 16 rounds (9mm), 12 rounds (.40SW)

The P99 pistol was a rather radical step forward for the Walther company, made under new management. The development of a new pistol started in 1994 and the first production pistols were shown to public in 1997. The earliest pistols were made in 9mm, and a .40 S&W version appeared in 1999. By 2004, the Carl Walther company presented the second generation of the P99 pistols. These new guns had even better ergonomics, and new model designations – the old P99 was renamed (and slightly redesigned) to P99AS (Anti-Stress), the double-action only P990 turned into the P99DAO, and only the P99QA (Quick Action) retained its name. The second generation also included the P99 Compact pistols, apparently made with input from American company Smith & Wesson, as the basically similar SW99 Compact pistol appeared on the US market a little earlier. Smith & Wesson makes a close copy of the P99 as the SW99, using Walther-made polymer frames and its own slides and barrels of slightly different shape. S&W also makes a .45-calibre version of this pistol. 9mm P99 pistols also are manufactured under Walther’s licence in Poland, and are standard police sidearms there.

The Walther P99 is short-recoil operated, locked-breech pistol. It uses a modified Browning locking system, with the barrel engaging the slide with a single large lug entering the ejection window. The frame is made from polymer and has interchangeable grip backstraps. Three backstraps of different shape are included with each pistol, so users can adjust the grip to their own preferences. The trigger is striker-fired, with an automated firing pin block safety, and varies with the model. The standard P99 is double / single action with a decocking button. Earlier P990s and current production P99DAOs are double action only, and the P99DAO also features a slightly different automated safety built into the trigger. The third variation of the P99 family is the P99QA, which features a partially pre-cocked trigger for a constant trigger pull from the first to the last shot. One feature, unique to the P99 series pistol triggers, is that despite being striker-fired, these pistols do not require the user to press the trigger during disassembly to disconnect the sear from the firing pin. This is done by using the decocking button, built into the top of the slide. This button is relatively large on the standard P99, as it is routinely used to decock the striker, and much smaller on the P99QA, as it is used only during disassembly to disconnect the firing pin from the sear. The P99DAO does not have such button, as its firing pin is always disconnected from the sear and at rest, except for the time the trigger is being pressed. The most recent Anti-Stress feature is, in fact, a modification to the trigger system which makes the trigger pull for the first shot in Single Action mode much longer than for subsequent shots. The Anti-Stress feature is activated each time the pistol is reloaded. Another safety feature is a striker cocking indicator, made in the form of a small pin, which protrudes from the back of the slide when the striker is cocked. First generation pistols had a slide release only at the left side of the frame, second generation guns may have optional ambidextrous slide stop release levers which, combined with ambidextrous magazine release levers built into the base of the trigger-guard, make these pistols truly left-hand friendly. All variations of the P99 use adjustable rear sights with white inserts. Magazines are of double-stack design.

How to field-strip (disassemble) Walther P99: 1) remove the magazine by pressing the magazine release button; 2) check that the chamber is empty; 3) on P99, P99AS and P99QA, press the decocking button; 4) press down and hold the disassembly sliders, located at either side of the frame, above the trigger; 5) push the slide forward and out of the frame; 6) remove the return spring assembly from below the barrel; 7) remove the barrel from the slide.
Reassemble in reverse order.

Walther P38, P1 and P4 pistol (Germany)

Walther "Armee pistole" or AP in short, a direct predecessor to the P38. Note that it has concealed hammer

Walther "Heeres Pistole" or HP in short, an early commercial version, produced before its official adoption as P38

Walther P38, produced in 1944 for Hitler's army

Walther P1, a post-war military version of P38 with aluminum frame

Walther P4, a post-war police version of P38 with aluminum frame, shortened barrel and modified safety system

Walther P38K, a short-barreled version of P4 produced for KSK during early 1980s

Walther P38 partially disassembled

Walther P38, P1 Walther P4
Type Double action semiautomatic
Caliber 9x19 Luger / Parabellum
Weight empty 840 g (steel frame)
770 g (aluminum frame)
740 g
Length 216 mm 197 mm
Barrel length 125 mm 104 mm
Magazine capacity 8 rounds

The Walther P38 pistol was developed as a military pistol for the German army (Wehrmacht) during the late 1930s. It first appeared in 1938, and small numbers of the original HP (Heeres Pistole – army pistol) were bought by Sweden before the Wehrmacht adopted it as the Pistole 38 and took over all production guns. During the war, P38 pistols were made by a number of factories, including the Walther itself. After the war, most of the ex-Walther machinery ended up in France as war reparations, and many of the post-war P38 pistols were actually built in France, by the Manurhin factory.
In 1957 the newly formed Bundeswehr adopted a slightly modified P38 pistol with a lighter aluminum frame as the Pistole 1, or P1 in short. Commercial pistols were still manufactured under the original P38 designation. Most of the post-war P38 pistols were made with aluminum frames, only handful of commercial pistols were made with steel frames. There were a couple of modifications of the P38, intended for police use, which appeared during the 1970s. The first was the P4, the first pistol to conform to new German requirements for police sidearms. Actually, the P4 was the P38 (or P1) with barrel cut back by 25mm (1 inch), fitted with an automated firing pin safety and decock-only lever. Early P4 pistols were actually made using P38 components, including slides, and thus were marked “P38 IV” instead of more common “P4”.
Another, less well-known variation was the P38K (Kurz, for Short in German), made for some special users such as the KSK – an elite counter-terror unit. This was a P4 (rather than original P38) with the barrel cut down at the front of the slide, and it was intended for concealed carry. The front sight was mounted on the slide, unlike the full-size model. It must be noted that a similar model was produced in small numbers during WW2 for the Gestapo and other such organizations. Wartime Kurz P38’s differed from post-war version by having a slightly longer barrel with the front sight mounted on the barrel. However, the service life of police derivatives of the P38 was much shorter than of the military P1 – most P4 pistols were declared obsolete and sold as surplus during the 1980s, while the P1 served until 1995. The last commercial P38 pistol was manufactured in 2000.
While P38 pistols were in some aspects revolutionary in design and concept, their post-war P1 versions were less than popular in the Bundeswehr, deserving the unofficial description of “eight warning shots plus one aimed throw”. Also, these pistols showed a typical German obsession for unnecessary over-complication of design – for example, the P38 pistol had eleven springs (mostly of very small size) – about twice that of the older P08 Luger pistol it replaced in service. It also had plenty of small parts and pins that were easy to lose during full disassembly, and a firing pin of intricate shape that easily broke.

The Walther P38 is short-recoil operated, locked-breech pistol. The barrel is locked to the slide using a wedge-shaped locking piece, which can tilt up and down below the barrel, while following the inclined surfaces on the frame. When the barrel and slide are in battery, the locking piece is in its upper position, and its lugs securely lock the slide to the barrel. Upon recoil, the locking piece drops down and out of the engagement with the slide, unlocking it and allowing it to recoil and complete the reloading cycle. Because of the short slide, the P38 has two captive return springs, located on either side of the frame and inside the slide. With time it was found that the aluminum frame developed cracks in the most highly stressed area, where the locking piece and barrel were slamming against it on recoil, so the frames of late production pistols were reinforced with the addition of a hexagonal cross-pin, made from steel. The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer and trigger bar (the link between the trigger and sear) unusually located outside of the frame at the right side. The standard safety also acted as a decocker, and was located at the left side of the slide. On the P4 pistol, the slide lever retained only the decock function and, once pressed and released, automatically returned to the fire position. P4 pistols were also fitted with a firing pin block safety. Magazines were single-stack, with the magazine release located at the heel of the grip. The sights were fixed. P38 pistols were also fitted with a loaded chamber indicator in the form of a small pin that projected from the rear of the slide, above the hammer, when a cartridge was loaded in the chamber.

How to field-strip (disassemble) Walther P38: 1) remove the magazine by pressing the magazine release button; 2) check that the chamber is empty; 3) pull the slide all the way back and lock it there with slide stop lever; 4) turn the disassembly lever down and forwards (located at the front of the frame, on left side); 5) while holding the slide, release the slide stop lever and carefully ease the slide into battery, then push it forward and out of the frame; 6) turn the slide upside down, and push forward the small pin at the base of the barrel, this will unlock the barrel from the slide; 7) pull the barrel out of the slide.
Reassemble in reverse order.

Walther PP, PPK and PPK/S pistol (Germany)

Experimental Walther "Police model" pistol which served as a prototype for PP; note that it has longer grip for 10-round magazine, and frame-mounted manual safety

Early production Walther PP pistol with so-called 90-degree safety

Rare pre-WW2 variation of Walther PP with bottom-mounted magazine release

A typical prewar Walther PP pistol

Post-war Walther PP pistol in .22LR

post-war Walther PP pistol made under license in France by Manurhin

Post-war Walther PP pistol made in East Germany

Pre-war Walther PPK pistol in presentation gold finish with engraving, issued by RZM

Post-war Walther PPK pistol

Walther PPK pistol fitted with silencer - a setup, closely associated with James Bond, agent 007

Walther PPK pistol, partially disassembled

Walther PPK/S

Type: Double Action
Caliber: .22LR or 6.35mm auto (.25 ACP) or 7.65x17mm Auto or 9x17mm (.380 ACP)
Length overall 173mm PP, 154 mm PPK
Weight: 682g PP, 568g PPK
Barrel length: 99mm PP, 84mm PPK
Capacity: 8 (PP), 7 (PPK) rounds

Walther PP pistols were among the most important developments of the inter-war period. Produced between 1929 and 1945 in significant numbers, these pistols, among with the basically similar but smaller PPK, were widely used as police and military guns in Hitler’s Germany. After the war, production of the PP and PPK pistols was resumed in France by Manurhin under German licence. Later on, production was returned to the re-established Walther factory in the city of Ulm ab Donau (pre-war Walther factory was located in the city of Zella-Mehlis), and these pistols have seen widespread use by civilians and police, as well as for personal defense by many non-infantry officers in several European armies. Very close copies of the Walther PP were manufactured after the war by East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and USA. At the present time, Walther PP, PPK/S and PPK pistols are manufactured in the USA by the Smith & Wesson Company under licence from Walther.
Walther PPK pistols are essentially similar to the larger PP pistols, except for the different design of the grip frame – while on PP pistols the grip backstrap is integral to the frame and grip panels are two separate items (left and right), on PPK pistols grip frame has a rectangular shape of a magazine channel and the backstrap is formed by the single-piece U-shaped grip unit, also usually made of plastic. While most PPK pistols were made with steel frames, in the post-war period Walther also produced some aluminum-framed PPK/L (Lightweight) pistols.
Also, there are Walther PPK/S pistols, which are a cross-breed between PP and PPK, combining the PP frame with shorter PPK-style barrel and slide. These pistols were designed to avoid limitations imposed by the American Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1968. This act, in particular, limited the minimum size of a “sporting purpose” pistols that are allowed to be imported in USA, and use of the larger grip frame allowed importing these pistols instead of smaller PPK pistols, banned from importation under this law.

The Walther PP is blowback-operated pistol with a fixed barrel, usually of all-steel construction. A few aluminum-framed PP pistols were built in Germany before the war, and stainless steel versions are manufactured in the USA under Walther’s licence since the mid-1980s. The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer and a frame-mounted manual safety/decocker; the lockwork is somewhat complicated in a typical German manner and has many small parts and pins. Sights are fixed, with the rear sight blade dovetailed into the slide. Magazines are single-stack; the magazine release button is usually located at the left side of the frame, just below the slide and in front of the grip panel. However, at least some PP pistols were made both before and after the war with so called “European-style” magazine release, located at the heel of the grip. Walther PP and PPK pistols are fitted with a loaded chamber indicator, made in the form of a small pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide (above the hammer) when a cartridge is in the chamber. This indicator is not present on .22LR models.
It must be noted that most of PP and PPK pistols were made in 7,65mm (.32ACP) caliber, with 9mm Kurz (9x17, .380ACP) running distant second. The .22LR version was made in some numbers, and so far most rare is the 6,35mm / .25ACP version, with very few guns made early in production history of both pistols.

How to field-strip (disassemble) Walther PP or PPK: 1) remove the magazine by pressing the magazine release button; 2) check that the chamber is empty; 3) pull the trigger-guard downwards, then swing it to one side to lock in the open position; 4) pull the slide all the way back, then raise the rear of the slide to the top, and off the frame rails; 5) carefully ease the slide forward and off the barrel; 6) remove the return spring from the barrel.
Reassemble in reverse order.

MGV-176 submachine gun (Yugoslavia)

MGV-176 submachine gun, butt folded

MGV-176 submachine gun, butt opened

MGV-176 submachine gun, with installed silencer

Caliber .22 LR (5,6mm rimfire)
Weight 1,81 kg less magazine, 3,4 kg with loaded magazine
Length (stock closed/open) 480 / 795 mm
Barrel length 260 mm
Rate of fire 1200 - 1600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 161 rounds
Effective range 50-70 meters

MGV-176 submachine gun appears to be a clone of an American-180 submachine gun, but adapted to more modern materials and less expensive production techniques. MGV-176 appeared during 1980s, and was offered for export. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia MGV-176 was manufactured in Slovenia by Orbis, and apparently is used by Slovenian police. A semi-automatic version was made and encountered during the war in Bosnia.
It is a specialist weapon, which can be used at relatively short ranges, because of weak ammunition. However, when fired in full automatic mode, the very high rate of fire combined with low recoil will result in a significant lethality through multiple hits to target.

MGV-176 submachine gun is blowback operated, selective-fired weapon which fires from open bolt. The receiver and pistol grip are made from polymer. Fire mode (single shots / full automatic) is controlled by the trigger pressure - short pull on the trigger produces single shots, and long pull produces full automatic fire with rather high cyclic rate. MGV-176 is fitted with manual safety on the left side of the grip, plus an automatic grip safety is located at the rear of the pistol grip. Gun is fitted with underfolding shoulder stock made from steel wire. MGV-176 can be fitted with quick-detachable sound moderator (silencer) which weights about 200 gram and reduces firing signature by about 20 dB. The feed system employs flat pan magazines, which hold 161 rounds of ammunition in three layers, with bullets pointing to the center of the pan. Magazine covers are made from semi-translucent plastic. Spent cases are ejected downwards through aperture in receiver just in front of the trigger guard, so care should be taken to not cover ejection port by supporting hand.

M56 submachine gun (Yugoslavia)

M56 submachine gun, butt opened

M56 submachine gun, butt folded

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3,0 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 591 / 870 mm
Barrel length 250 mm
Rate of fire 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds
Effective range 200 meters

The M56 submachine gun appears to be a simplified clone of German MP40 submachine gun, adapted for 7,62x25mm pistol ammunition, which, compared to 9x19mm ammunition of MP40 provided longer effective range and better penetration, but slightly less stopping power. The M56 submachine gun had a relatively long service life.

M56 submachine gun is blowback operated, full automatic only weapon that fires from open bolt. The bolt system is of simple design, with exposed, large diameter return spring. The cocking handle is located at the right side of the bolt and doubles as a manual safety - pushing it inwards locks the bolt in open or closed position. The stock is copied from MP40 and folds down and forward to save the length. Sights are of open type, with flip-up rear, marked for 100 and 200 meters range. One unusual feature of M56 is that it has a bayonet lug on the barrel and thus can accept a knife-bayonet.

M49 submachine gun (Yugoslavia)

Caliber 7,62x25 mm
Weight 3,8 kg empty
Length 847 mm
Barrel length 267 mm
Rate of fire 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 35 rounds
Effective range 200-250 meters

The Yugoslavian M49 (Model 1949) submachine gun at first glance appears to be a clone of Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun. On close examination. however, there are more than a few differences between those two guns, with some features (most notably the bolt group and safety) being taken from Italian Beretta M38A submachine gun. It must be noted that M49 had apparently a relatively short service life, being replaced by the latter M56 submachine gun, which was more compact and of slightly more modern design.

M49 submachine gun is blowback operated, selective-fire weapon which fires from open bolt. The trigger unit with fire selector lever, located inside trigger guard, is copied from Soviet PPSh-41. The bolt group, with return spring enclosed in tubular guide, is a derivative of Beretta M38A, and the cross-bolt safety, located in front of trigger guard, is copied from Beretta M38/49, although the location of button is slightly different. The basic layout with wooden stock and shrouded barrel is also similar to PPSh-41, although the barrel shroud and receiver are made from steel tubing rather than stampings. The disassembly procedure is different, as M49 is disassembled by screwing off the rear cap of receiver and then pulling the bolt group out of the receiver. The bolt system incorporates a separate spring buffer, and because of it, and slightly longer receiver, rate of fire for M49 is somewhat less than of PPSh-41. The feed system, along with folding magazine release lever, is similar to Soviet prototype, but M49 were issued only with 35-round curved box magazines and no drums.

Vigneron M2 submachine gun (Belgium)

Vigneron M2 submachine gun, right side

Vigneron M2 submachine gun, left side

Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight 3,28 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 695 / 872 mm
Barrel length 300 mm
Rate of fire 620 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 32 rounds
Effective range 100 meters

The Vigneron submachine gun was developed during early fifties by the officer of the Belgian army and produced by Belgian company Precision Liegoise SA. It was adopted by Belgian army in 1953, and saw some combat in then-Belgian Congo. Vigneron submachine gun was quite conventional in design and appearance, and not much more can be told about this weapon.

Vigneron submachine gun is blowback operated, selective fired weapon which fires from open bolt. Fire mode selector / safety switch is located on the left side of the grip, just behind the trigger. It is interesting that in full automatic mode short pull on the trigger will still, produce single shots, and only a long pull will produce full automatic fire. Additional automated safety is built into the backstrap of the pistol grip. Cocking handle is located on the left side of the receiver, and is stationary when gun is fired. Ejection port has a spring-loaded dust cover. Barrel is relatively long and has two ports just behind the front sight base, which serve as a muzzle rise compensator. Sights are fixed, with rear aperture set for 50 meters range. Stock is made from steel wire and is retractable, with several positions so shooter can adjust it to his own preferences.

Reising M-50 and M-55 submachine gun (USA)

early production Reising M50 submachine gun, so called "commercial" or "police" model, with 20-round magazine

late production Reising M50 submachine gun, "military" model

Reising M55 submachine gun, with shoulder stock folded

Reising M60 semiautomatic carbine

Reising M50 Reising M55
Caliber .45 ACP
Weight 3,06 kg empty 2,81 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open) 857 mm 556 / 781 mm
Barrel length 279 mm 263 mm
Rate of fire 550 rounds per minute 500 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 12 or 20 rounds 12 or 20 rounds
Effective range 100 meters 100 meters

The Reising submachine gun was designed by American Eugene Reising and patented in 1940. Production of the new submachine gun commenced in 1941 at Harrington & Richardson (H&R) arms factory. In 1942, US Marine Corps signed first contract for delivery of Reising M50 submachine guns, and several tents of thousands of Reising M50 SMG's were delivered to USMC during the war. It must be noted that USMC weapons were slightly different in appearance from original version, having different trigger guard, larger takedown screw head, and other minor changes. Similar weapons were sold to various US agencies to guard military facilities and other important locations in USA. For USMC paratroopers and tankers H&R produced a folding-stock version, known as Reising M55. H&R also produced a semi-automatic only version of the M50, known as M60, which was used for training and guard purposes. The least known version is the Reising M65, a training semi-automatic weapon chambered for .22LR ammunition. It must be noted that US Marines generally disliked the Reising gun for its poor reliability, especially when gun was fouled or dirty. However, it was quite accurate and sufficiently reliable in "urban" conditions, so many Reising submachine guns were used by various US Police departments through several post-war decades.

Reising M50 submachine gun is delayed blowback operated, selective fired weapon. It fired from closed bolt and has a separate striker (non-pivoting, sliding hammer) which hit the firing pin when gun was discharged. The delay for opening movement of the bolt was provided by displacing its rear upper edge from the recesses, made on the inside of the receiver. The fire mode selector was located at the right side of the receiver, in front of the rear sight. Charging handle was unusually located in the slot, formed on the underside of the stock, in front of the magazine. To cock the gun, shooter must insert his finger into the slot and pull the cocking handle back, and then release it. Feed was from box magazines; standard magazine capacity was 20 rounds, with cartridges held in double stack and with single position feed. For training purposes, H&R also produced 12-round single stack magazines. Currently, aftermarket 30-round magazines are available for all .45 caliber Reising weapons. Sights included front post and a diopter rear, adjustable from 50 to 300 yards range. Original M50 submachine guns featured an one-piece wooden stock and a muzzle flip compensator. "Paratrooper" Reising M55 guns had wooden stocks with pistol grip and side-folding stocks made from steel wire, and no muzzle compensators. Both types of submachine gun featured partially finned barrels. Semi-automatic only Resing M60 carbines featured longer barrels with no fins.