In the previous article about small-sized automata, two models were described. weapons, participating in the competition "Modern", as well as the sample, which was the reason for holding this competition. In this article, I propose to consider the most interesting remaining options for the Modern contest, especially since some of them deserve very close attention. The previous two versions of small-sized automata that participated in the Modern competition were developed by gunsmiths, who already had quite loud names, and the rest of the weapons developed under this program were created by well-known designers. However, few people know that an automaton that an unknown cadet of the Tula Higher Artillery Engineering School, A. V. Shevchenko, had developed, could take part in the competition. With a review of this sample, I propose to start a second article on small-sized domestic automata. Moreover, the weapon proposed by the young inventor was different from other models.
The opportunity to get into the Modern contest for cadet Shevchenko was due to the fact that in 1977 on their own initiative, without financial support from outside, the Military Scientific Society of cadets of the Tula Higher Artillery Engineering School was involved in the development of a small-sized machine gun. It was there that a sample of an automaton with a loud name “Tornado” was born under the cartridges 5,45x39. This machine differed not only in its appearance from many other models that were presented at the competition, but also on the principle of locking the barrel. Well, speaking of cleanliness, this principle of locking was generally completely new, never used before, so we can say that cadet Shevchenko developed his weapon completely, without relying on other models.
The first thing to note is the layout of the weapon, which was the buildup of the bullpup. In general, it is strange that during the creation of a small-sized machine gun, none of the well-known designers made their weapons in that configuration, because the length of the weapon could not be shortened as much as it can, while the relatively normal length of the barrel remains and the controllability of the weapon increases many times during shooting.
Of course, there is a lot of drawbacks in the bullpup layout: the ejection of a spent cartridge case is close to the shooter’s face, the balance of the weapon is unusual and unusual for many, the location of controls is not always convenient, and so on. However, all this can be "won" there would be a desire and sufficient funding. Partly the young designer managed to solve some of the problems of weapons. So, the center of gravity of his small-sized machine gun was at the level of the pistol grip of the weapon, which allowed firing even without an emphasis on the shoulder, of course, that was not the same with such shooting, and there could be no question, but when it was necessary to shoot without of delay, it was only in arms plus. The weapon could be used both right-handed and left-handed, not with equal convenience, of course, but nonetheless. However, before use, it was necessary to perform some manipulations with a small-sized machine gun so that the sleeve would fly in the right direction. Some of the flaws that are inherent in the weapon in the layout of the bullpup in the model of the Smerch small-sized machine gun were even more pronounced than in other weapons. So, the weapon shop was located very close to the shooter’s shoulder, so for the replacement it was necessary to take the weapon away from the shoulder and only after that to replace the shop, it was very problematic to touch it. In general, such a close location of the store to the shooter was not a serious drawback, provided that the main task of the weapon was self-defense of the crews of armored vehicles, artillery crews, drivers, and so on.
The basis of the small-sized machine has become a vapor system with a long piston stroke. The barrel bore was locked using an L-shaped shutter swinging on the axis, which locked the barrel bore for two stops. During the interaction of the inclined sections of the liner in the receiver and the swinging shutter during the roll-up of the bolt carrier, the bolt turned and locked the barrel bore. Similarly, the interaction of the inclined parts of the details and unlocked the barrel. It is difficult to say how such a system was reliable and durable, since it was not normally studied. Naturally, the Tula Higher Artillery Engineering School had neither the means nor the capacity to further develop the project, so they asked for help from the TsKIB of the city of Tula, from which they were expectedly refused. It is very strange that they were not interested in the innovation and did not try to bring the work of the young designer “to mind”, yet his proposal was really quite interesting and required in-depth study. Well, the fact that this system would have disadvantages, so история I knew many examples when real masterpieces were made of weapons that simply could not be fired. This is how young talents are lost.
Of the positive qualities of such a locking system, it should be noted that it has a positive effect on the compactness of the weapon, in particular, this seriously reduces the length of the receiver. In addition, such a system of locking the barrel, due to the fact that all its elements move very quickly, allows you to increase the rate of fire up to 1800 rounds per minute. Of course, someone can say that such a rate of fire is rather a minus weapon, but let's not forget about the purpose of such a weapon. In addition, you can refer to the work of German Alexandrovich Korobov, the result of which was the conclusion that such a rate of fire has a positive effect on the accuracy of shooting from uncomfortable positions, and this is exactly what is needed in this case. Also, do not forget that the layout of the weapon allowed the use of a barrel of normal length in 415 millimeters, and this is an increase in the speed of the bullet.
A remarkable point in the weapon is that the young designer managed to implement a firing mechanism that allows firing not only with single shots and a long queue, but also with a cut-off of three rounds, which at a sufficiently high rate of automatic fire seems quite reasonable. Naturally, all this is not based on paper records and drawings. A single working sample of weapons was assembled, and it should be noted that he earned without any debugging and refinement. The result of shooting from this sample was really impressive, since the “kid” turned out to be more heaped when shooting from uncomfortable positions in comparison with the full-sized AKS74 at distances up to 300 meters. Especially clearly the advantage was seen when shooting from awkward positions, and when shooting without resting on the shoulder, the weapon showed slightly worse results than АКС74. Also an interesting point is that the gas tube of the weapon had a seat for mounting additional sighting devices, when the presence of a side bar was considered as "standard". Open sights were folded and did not interfere with the use of additional sights. There were also minuses in the weapon, for example, in the form of a bolt handle, which was located on top of the weapon and was not covered with anything, which made possible the accidental injury of the shooter. The close location of the weapon store in the shooter’s shoulder, and, accordingly, the store lock was also not the best solution, since there was a chance that the store would be accidentally removed if clothing or equipment caught on the store latch.
Here is an interesting weapon that was proposed by a cadet of a military school, who not only had no experience in developing weapons, did not use standard solutions in it, but made it his own way. How successful such a locking system and the machine itself could be, we can only guess now, one thing is for sure: “Smerch” would never have won the Modern competition, since even famous gunsmiths were skeptical of this competition realizing that preference will be given to the version of the weapon, which is based on the AK74, as it turned out later. It was impossible to say that such “love” for AK was excessive, the decision was made primarily on the basis of economy in production, so, as it is sad to admit, it was right. But the question that the young talent was blocked by oxygen from the very beginning, without even becoming interested in his work, causes only negative emotions, who knows, maybe later this person would be the one who would create a sample to replace AK and surpass it in all respects .
But let's not talk about sad things and go back to the Modern contest, and the next weapon under consideration among the small-sized automata will be the sample that Konstantinov created, under the name AEK-958. Strangely enough, but Konstantinov’s small-sized machine gun was the most ordinary and didn’t stand out among others. On top of that, finding information on these weapons with exact numbers turned out to be not the easiest task, the only thing that can be said about these weapons with confidence is that its barrel was hardly longer than 215 millimeters, and the machine itself was about 450 millimeters long with a folded butt and less than 750 with unfolded, weighing no more than 2,5 kilogram. Such conclusions can be made on the basis of the restrictions that were put forward as part of the Modern contest, as well as on the basis of the length of the weapon and the classical arrangement, under which the longer barrel simply cannot fit. Also based on the principle of operation of the weapon and the length of the barrel, it can be concluded that the speed of a bullet fired from the barrel of this small-sized machine gun hardly exceeded the speed of 735 meters per second, while the rate of fire was within 600 shots per minute. But this, so to speak, is my reasoning, and not exact information, because to say that all the figures cited are true, I can not, with all the desire, but in general they must correspond to reality, it seems they didn’t take them from the ceiling.
The automatics of the small-sized AEK-958 submachine gun is built around the removal of powder gases from the barrel during firing, the barrel is locked when the bolt is turned to two stops. The trigger mechanism of the weapon allows both automatic fire and single-shot fire. Just like all other samples, this small-sized machine gun is designed for those servicemen for whom it needs more as self-defense than as the main tool for working against the enemy, hence its compact dimensions, light weight and not the highest accuracy.
Weapon sights are the familiar rear sight, designed for firing up to 500 meters and a fly. Also, on the right side of the weapon there is a strap designed for mounting a night vision sight NVNU, about optical sights, I am reasonably silent with the barrel length in 215 millimeters. Also on the right side of the weapon were all the controls, including the shutter knob and the switch of the fire / safety mode above the pistol grip. In the handle is located a case with accessories for weapon service. Shops from which the small-sized automaton is powered can be the capacity of 20 cartridges or the 30 cartridges from AK74. One of the main drawbacks of the machine can be considered a butt that folds to the right side, closing the controls, and although they are still available it is extremely inconvenient to use them. By the way, there is a variant of this small-sized machine gun with a butt of a non-frame type, which really completely covers the entire right side of the weapon, respectively, before using it, you need to expand it, which is unacceptable in a small-sized machine gun, which is intended for self-defense of servicemen. An interesting element in the small-sized AEK-958 machine gun is its flame arrester, which had an irregular shape, due to which the weapon flip was partially reduced when firing, but this cannot be considered a solution to this problem, since it only partially compensates for this unpleasant moment.
Thus, we can say that the small-sized AEK-958 machine gun in this case would hardly have been a serious competitor to other samples, since it was a medium weapon, both in its characteristics and in its design. Personally, I am very surprised, because I always considered Konstantinov to be one of the main competitors of Kalashnikov. However, here you can look at the situation in a different way, seeing the futility of the struggle for the championship in this case, the designer made a small-sized machine only to lag behind, and he continued to work on more interesting and promising weapons.
Well, the last of the small-sized automata considered in this article will be the brainchild of designer Simonov under the name AG-043. This sample is also not widely known; in fact, nothing is said for certain about the principle of its operation, but there are, however, exact figures that can be used to suggest something. The main feature of this machine has become its dimensions and weight, in fact it is the only one sample that fits into the framework of the Modern contest, well, except perhaps for the possibility of effective fire at a distance of up to 500 meters. With the classic layout and barrel length in 215 millimeters, this weapon had a total length of 420 millimeters with a folded butt and 680 with unfolded, while the weight was only 2,1 kilograms. This sample was fed from detachable stores with a capacity of 30 ammunition from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. It was his small size and small mass that became the basis for rumors that supposedly this sample of weapons was nevertheless adopted, not for the army, but for the KGB of the USSR, which later turned out to be nothing more than a fiction, although it is possible that The question was considered.
Unfortunately, nothing is known about how the weapon automation system is implemented, to assume something is just as senseless, since the rate of firing shots per minute in 700 absolutely does not mean anything. So we will not fantasize, but leave a space with a space - maybe later on it will be filled with reliable information. Sights weapons consist of a pillar and front sight. On the right side is a switch of fire modes. Butt folded up and fixed for the fly small-sized machine. The shutter handle is located on the right side. Actually, this is all that you can tell about this really compact machine.
These are the little-known weapons that participated in the Modern competition. At this point, you can stop torturing small-sized machines for the cartridge 5,45х39 and begin to tear apart younger samples, for special ammunition 9х39, but about them in the next article.
Small automatic machines (Article II): "Tornado" Shevchenko, AEK-958 Konstantinova, AG-043 Simonova
- Karasik Kirill
- Photos used: