Why did Russian special forces abandon domestic pistols and switch to the West?

The Federal Security Service (FSB) https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalunlocked/topic/1is Russia’s top special forces unit possessing all kinds of advanced tactical weapons and accessories, but surprisingly, the standard pistol equipment is Western instead of Russian.

Russia is famous for equipping its military with its own made pieces of equipment but not in all cases. The FSB of Russia love to use foreign pistol, sniper rifle, and assault rifle instead of homemade ones.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) is a federal executive body with the authority to implement government policy in the national security of the Russian Federation, counterterrorism, the protection and defence of the state border of the Russian Federation, the protection of internal sea waters, the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf and their natural resources, ensuring the information security of Russia and exercising the basic functions of the federal security services specified in the Russian legislation, as well as coordinating the counterintelligence efforts of the federal executive bodies that have the power to do so.

Russian FSB Directive Alpha. Glock pistol, AK-105
Russian FSB Directive Alpha. Glock pistol, AK-105

In addition to the Austrian Glock 17 pistol, they also equipped with the German MR-308 assault rifle and the Mannlicher sniper rifle also made by Austria.

According to an instructor specializing in training special forces of the FSB, elite members of Russian security often rely on three Western models of weapons because of their advantages over domestic products. “The Austrian-made Glock 17 is widely used in our units because it is the most affordable, reliable product on the market,” the trainer said.

The most important issue with handguns, he said, is durability, meaning how many shots the gun can fire before it falls apart. A Makarov or Yarygin (middle) costs about $300 and can only fire 4,500 rounds before it becomes unstable A Glock 17 sells in Russia for about $2,000, four times higher than in the US and Europe because of taxes and fees, but it can fire up to 300,000 shots while still being reliable “The difference in endurance between these pistols is unimaginable,” said the Russian special forces instructor.

“I once asked the manager of a military factory why they built guns with a life span of only two weeks of field training. They replied that World War II research showed that the average soldier doesn’t can fire more than 4,500 rounds on the battlefield” said the Russian special forces instructor.

Russian special force with Glock-17
Russian special force with Glock-17

Only then did the Russian special forces instructor say that “the war ended 70 years ago and special forces units need pistols that can fire at least 100,000 times before they fail”. The factory management replied that “shoot less”. After receiving this answer, the Russian security special forces stopped all negotiations with the domestic arms company and ordered an Austrian Glock-17 pistol.

Because according to this lecturer, intense training is a mandatory requirement of a good special forces force, especially the Russian FSB force.

The quality of handguns has been an unresolved issue in the Russian defense industry for decades. Kalashnikov Corporation in May 2021 announced special MPL pistols for Russian special forces, but so far there is no more information about equipping this pistol.

Therefore, the Glock 17 pistol is still being used by Russian special forces, because this is a special pistol, unlike any pistol version that has ever been made in the world before. Maintaining strong firepower but the gun weight is very light thanks to the components made from high-molecular-weight plastic. The Glock pistol weighs just over 600g. The Glock 17 pistol is also downright simple, with just 34 parts. The rival Beretta 92F even has 70 parts.

During firing, the barrel moves backward about 3 mm, until the bullet leaves the barrel and the pressure in the chamber drops to a safe level. The original gun only had a semi-automatic mode, however some improved models also added a full automatic mode with the ability to select the firing mode.

During his lifetime, inventor Gaston Clock spent most of his life improving the Glock pistol with various variations. He wanted the semi-automatic pistol he built to be more hand- and eye-friendly, making aiming faster and more accurate.

Glock 17 was also the gun that could carry the largest number of bullets at that time. Compared to the competition, the Beretta 92 is the most notable with 15 rounds. The Russian pistols at that time only had about 8 rounds.

In the 35 years since this pistol was introduced, the Glock, most notably the Glock 17 version, has become an icon of the pistol in the world, despite the competition of newcomers. Glock 17 served in many military and special forces units around the world such as the British, Swedish, Indian, Iraqi, Israeli, Yemeni, Russian armies.

Particularly in the US, commandos and marines prefer a compact version called Glock 19, while Delta Force special forces prefer the Glock 22 version.

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