In the process of wandering around the sites of weapons-related topics, I came across a relatively fresh new "top" from the American expert Charlie Gao. Visitors to the Military Review already know Citizen Gao from the translation of the article "Five Types of Weapons Dangerous to the Shooters themselves." This time, the expert has prepared another selection of weapons under the name "5 Worst Russian Pistols on the Planet."
It is insanely pleasant that Charlie Gao considers domestic weapons to be so good that, in his opinion, they can be used somewhere outside our globe. Despite this, it will not be superfluous to see what exactly the American expert considered a bad weapon and whether it is so terrible, as described in the article.
Probably, you need to start with the fact that at the beginning of his list of the worst pistols in Russia, the expert responds positively about the Makarov and TT pistols. It is flattering, but this will not confuse us, we will try to remain impartial, and if something really from the proposed citizen Gao is bad, then it will remain so.
Pistol OTs-23 "Dart"
In the first place for the American expert is the pistol, not the most famous in wide circles, but recognizable by those who are interested in firearms. This pistol was developed in the mid-90s by designers Stechkin, Balzer and Zinchenko. The development was initiated by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs to replace the Stechkin automatic pistol, which is still in service.
Charlie Gao marks this weapon as stillborn in several ways. First, the expert talks about the weight of about a kilogram (in fact, 850 grams without cartridges). Secondly, the expert is confused by the ineffective ammunition 5, 45x18, however, there is a high penetrating effect in comparison with the 9x18PM, as well as the possibility of automatic fire weapons with a cutoff of three rounds.
You probably need to start with ergonomics, ease of wearing and use. Yes, by modern standards, the pistol is heavy, and you can't find any design delights in it. But it has the usual location of the fuse switch and a fairly convenient slider for removing the magazine at the base of the safety bracket. The pistol is not small - its length is 195 millimeters, but after all, the Stechkin pistol, which was planned to be replaced by the OTs-23, is also far from being a kid. Beauty in weapons is, of course, good, but reliability is still in the first place, and in this regard, there were no complaints about the OTs-23 pistol.
It should also be borne in mind that the weapon was created for specific requirements, but the fact that the requirements for the pistol went against what they wanted to get in the end was not at all the fault of the designers. As a result, we have a reliable, albeit large and relatively heavy pistol with a magazine capacity of 24 rounds 5, 45x18, while the weapon can also shoot in short bursts of three rounds.
Is this a bad weapon? According to Charlie Gao, yes, but personally it seems to me that not the weapon in this case is bad, but the ammunition that is used in it. Not even that. The ammunition is good, but in this case it was used in the wrong niche.
Indeed, cartridge 5, 45x18 is of little use for military weapons. Whatever one may say, but the kinetic energy of the bullet is too low for even a little meaningful stopping effect on impact. If we compare with foreign samples, for example, with ammunition for the same Five-Seven pistol, it becomes obvious that the domestic ammunition loses in all respects. The expectation that the bullet will behave somehow differently when it hits soft tissue in comparison with full-fledged ammunition, clearly did not come true, and even three hits in a row from the OTs-23 are unlikely to be compared in effectiveness with one 9x19 hit. For the same reason, even small-sized pistols chambered for this cartridge, for example, the well-known PSM, are more likely a weapon for complacency than for self-defense.
Despite the fact that in the process of working on this ammunition, Antonina Dmitrievna Denisova did a lot of work, during which it was concluded that a small-caliber bullet, due to its length and low stabilization, can cause significant damage when hit, which in some cases is comparable to a hit bullets 9x18PM, no one undertakes to guarantee such an effect. In other words, the confident defeat of the enemy is rather a will of chance than a real systematic phenomenon with this ammunition. In the case of using this ammunition in the OTs-23 pistol, this probability increases when firing with a cut-off of three rounds, but even in this case we are not talking about a guaranteed defeat. It is worth noting that many, even the most common and generally recognized effective cartridges cannot guarantee a confident defeat of the enemy, it is enough to look at the statistics of fatal bullet wounds. Man is a creature sometimes very tenacious. But these are all, of course, excuses that justify the cartridge 5, 45x18.
To be objective, at the moment this cartridge would be ideal for the initial stage of training in shooting, as ammunition for premium weapons, and so on, but not for service weapons, and even more so for combat weapons.
But let's return to Charlie Gao's opinion that the OTs-23 pistol is one of the worst examples of short-barreled weapons developed in Russia. As already mentioned above, the pistol itself is not at all to blame for the fact that it was designed around a not very successful cartridge. The design of the weapon is not only reliable, but also interesting, since it has very unusual solutions. For example, the automatics of a pistol is built according to the scheme with a free breechblock, but few people know that when rolling back, after removing the spent cartridge case, the bolt braking is achieved not only by the stiffness of the return spring, but also by the mass of the weapon barrel, which, at the last moments of the movement of the bolt group, begins to move with her. This provides a very soft recoil when firing, which is especially important given the fact that the rate of fire when firing in bursts reaches 1800 rounds per minute, which can be quite noticeable even with 5, 45x18. This solution also makes it possible to evenly distribute the load over the pistol frame, which affects the overall reliability and durability of the weapon, since at the extreme points the bolt group does not have its maximum movement speed.
In my opinion, the Dart pistol is an excellent weapon from the point of view of the combination of reliability and technical solutions in the design. It is somehow incorrect to compare it with the products of foreign manufacturers for more powerful ammunition, but with a small caliber. I may be thinking in the wrong direction, but in my opinion a bad pistol is one that doesn't fire or falls apart when fired. In this case, the OTs-23 pistol may not be suitable for combat or service use, but it is excellent for recreational shooting, and it clearly cannot be the worst weapon that Soviet gunsmiths have developed.
Revolver М1895 Nagant
In second place in the list of the worst domestic variants of short-barreled weapons is unexpectedly the Belgian revolver of the Nagant brothers. How this weapon ended up on Charlie Gao's list is generally unclear. The expert himself admits that the weapon at the time of its development was very good, and Gao puts the main disadvantage of this revolver in the fact that this revolver was in service with the Soviet Army until the 30s. By this logic, we can safely say that the American Colt M1911 is generally a stillborn weapon (in no way to an insult to the memory of John Moses Browning, but to the absurdity of Charlie Gao's conclusions).
Yes, indeed, the M1895 revolver had a number of shortcomings, including the heavy self-cocking descent mentioned by the expert and the ability to reload only one cartridge each. But, for a second, we are talking about weapons that took part in two world wars, weapons that have been used to write history, and they are unexpectedly in the second place of the worst pistols produced on the territory of Russia.
Do not forget that this revolver has one feature that allowed the Soviet Army for some time to have the "quietest" firearms that existed at that time. As you know, when cocked, the drum of the M1895 revolver moves forward, rolling on the barrel of the weapon, which, together with the design of the cartridge, avoids the breakthrough of powder gases between the barrel and the chamber of the drum. The Mitin brothers developed a silent firing device for the M1895 revolver, which made the weapon as quiet as possible when fired, since, apart from the sound of the smooth release of powder gases from the PBS and the hammer blow, nothing was heard during firing. The British were concerned about the creation of such weapons only in the middle of World War II, the Soviet Union already had it, and much more effective in comparison with the first options for British development.
In general, the train of thought of the American arms expert regarding the M1895 revolver by the Nagan brothers is absolutely incomprehensible to me.
In third place in the top of the worst domestic pistols for Charlie Gao is the P-96 pistol and its derivatives. Given the fact that this weapon has become widespread in its service version chambered for 9x17, and with it a lot of negative reviews, the statement of an American expert may seem quite justified, but let's figure it out.
This pistol is built according to the automatic scheme with a short stroke of the weapon barrel, while the barrel bore is locked when the barrel is turned by 30 degrees. The same scheme of operation of the automatics is preserved in weapons with relatively weak ammunition chambered for 9x18 and 9x17 cartridges, which in case of contamination of the weapon and the use of low-quality cartridges can lead to delays in firing. No matter how much we would like to justify this pistol, but the preservation of a more complex automation system where the free breech would perfectly bleed off is, if not a minus, then at least strange, especially considering that this negatively affects the reliability of the weapon. However, with proper care and the use of normal cartridges, such problems are not observed.
The low resource of the weapon was revealed in the variant of the pistol chambered for 9x19 cartridges. In this case, one cannot say the words of Elena Malysheva that this is the norm, but one does not need to be a designer in order to understand that such a system for locking the barrel bore makes special requirements both to the quality of materials and to the quality of their processing. In addition, such a barrel locking system is susceptible to contamination when using the weapon in dusty conditions. However, this does not mean that the use of automation with a short barrel stroke, when locked by turning the barrel, is unacceptable in the design of pistols. There are many examples of quite successful implementation of such structures, in which in one way or another it was possible to minimize all the negative aspects, while retaining the advantages of the movement of the barrel without distortions. Of the domestic pistols, such an example can be the GSH-18, which, with some stretch, can even be called work on errors in the P-96 pistol.
The second negative point in the P-96 pistol is the peculiarity of its trigger mechanism design. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get acquainted with this weapon personally, even in the service version, but, as it becomes clear from the description of the pistol design, its trigger mechanism is somewhat specific. The specificity lies in the fact that the sear does not allow the shutter casing to completely move away to its extreme point of about 10 millimeters.
What does this mean for the owner of such a pistol? This means that a stuck fired cartridge case or cartridge in the chamber can be removed by the usual movement of the bolt casing, but the hammer can only be cocked when the trigger is pressed, which will lower the sear, giving the bolt casing the opportunity to completely move back. That is, in order to send the cartridge into the chamber, you need to press the trigger, pull the bolt casing, release the bolt casing, while the drummer will be on the preliminary platoon, if he did not stand on it before, then release the trigger and only after that a shot can be fired. If you pull the shutter casing with the trigger released, applying force, you can break the sear.
Such a design feature of the trigger mechanism is clearly not something good for a pistol. Of course, you can get used to it, but, in this case, the actions performed almost automatically with another weapon will need to be constantly monitored and thought ten times before doing something. Which, in principle, is recommended with other pistols that are easier to handle.
Putting it all together, it really is not the most rosy picture. The weapon is whimsical to the cartridge and maintenance, it requires maximum attention when carrying out even the simplest manipulations. Together with the fact that only the service version of the pistol received distribution, that is, the P-96S pistol is widespread where responsibility and constant care for the weapon is a phenomenon, if not rare, then often absent, as a result we get a bunch of negative reviews for this weapon.
Whether it is worth calling a weapon bad only because it requires increased attention is a difficult question. Nevertheless, the possibility of an accidental shot, if the shooter confused something and pulled the trigger at the moment of removing the cartridge from the chamber, this is clearly a fat "minus" of the pistol design. So if the P-96 pistol is not the worst, then, unfortunately, it is clearly impossible to write it down as a good weapon.
Another pistol in the list of the worst Russian pistols from Charlie Gao is the familiar "Strizh", known in the world market as Strike One. A couple of years ago, everyone was delighted with this weapon, its descriptions and characteristics were reprinted and accompanied by enthusiastic exclamations about the pistol of the future, which has no analogues in the world, with a unique automation system.
Domestic experts proudly posed with this pistol in shooting ranges, and showed holes with holes, demonstrating the high accuracy of hits from this pistol. True, there were those who even then said that the Italians were trying to slip sporting weapons under the guise of military ones, and the design of the pistol was not at all so unique and it would soon be a hundred years old. Time passes, public opinion is changing, now "Strizh" does not criticize except perhaps the lazy one. Let's again figure out what kind of weapon it is and why it got into the list of the worst pistols from Russia according to Charlie Gao.
First of all, it should be noted that the pistol has really well-thought-out ergonomics, which, together with the low-set barrel relative to the handle, has a positive effect on the accuracy and comfort of firing, since the weapon deviates minimally from the aiming point when fired. A significant role in the high performance of weapons when firing is played by the fact that the barrel of the pistol moves only along its axis, without distortions. This is realized due to the coupling of the barrel and the casing-bolt with the help of an insert. While the pistol was in the shooting range, everything was fine, but exactly until the moment when they decided to subject the weapon to more serious tests in conditions other than a sterile shooting range.
Almost immediately, the problem of the sensitivity of the pistol to contamination was identified, from which the automation system (which, by the way, was proposed by Bergman at the beginning of the twentieth century) began to refuse. As it turned out, you cannot go against the laws of physics, and large contact areas of rubbing parts will not feel very good when fine sand and dust gets in.
The second problem with this weapon was its legibility in ammunition. Low-quality cartridges simply could not make the automation system work normally, since they simply lacked the power of the powder charge. Hence, there were delays when firing in the form of not removing the spent cartridges from the chamber, some remained clamped in the window to eject spent cartridges between the chamber and the breech casing. Gradually, the understanding came that this weapon is clearly not combat and not ready for domestic realities. Nevertheless, this did not prevent from continuing to make regular reports from shooting galleries, where the capabilities of weapons were already demonstrated in the hundredth circle.
It is believed that without the patronage of officials, this weapon would remain generally unknown on the domestic market, however, it is not our task to understand scandals, intrigues, investigations. For this there are REN-TV, NTV and separate bodies.
What conclusions can be drawn from everything written above about the Strizh pistol? First of all, it must be borne in mind that the weapon is clearly not adapted for operation in the field. Needs careful care, quality control of the ammunition used. To be realistic, it is impossible to provide all this either in the army or in the law enforcement agencies. The only niche where all this is possible is the civilian market. Only the owner of the weapon can provide him with normal full-fledged care, and will not load anything into it. Taking into account the fact that short-barreled weapons are currently only available to civilians for athletes, we can conclude that the Strizh is a sports pistol that they wanted to make a combat one.
It should be noted that not only "Strizh" showed low resistance to pollution, Strike One also gorged on criticism from foreign owners of this weapon. If you set a goal, you can find videos where this pistol is compared with other models of weapons, emphasizing that the same Beretta 92 normally eats cartridges, and Strike has indigestion from these ammunition. That is, the reason is not in the quality of the production of weapons, but in its design.
Despite this, it is clearly not worth saying that the pistol turned out to be frankly bad. Taking into account really good indicators in terms of accuracy of fire and ease of use, this pistol can claim a place in the niche of sports weapons, where it will be provided with both proper care and proper nutrition. So, as a combat weapon, the Strizh pistol is really not the best model, but as a sporting one it is even quite acceptable and we can say that it is not bad.
Well, the cherry on the cake in the list of the worst Russian pistols according to Charlie Gao was the unloved PYa. I'll make a reservation right away that those who are finally convinced that Yarygin's pistol is a weapon mistakenly admitted to mass production can squander the text to the final part, since I'm going to justify this pistol. And it is really possible and necessary to justify this pistol, if only because today most of its shortcomings have been eliminated. Despite this, the spoons were found, but the sediment remained.
Many people wonder how it was possible to create a weapon according to a working scheme that has already been worked out for decades and at the same time make the final product bad. The answer is simple, as in most cases like this: rush, save, mass produce.
The fact that the weapon was rushed into service was evident already from the first batch of this pistol. The fact that the pistol suffered from such "childhood" diseases as sticking a cartridge when fed into the chamber already indicates that the weapon was made, but they forgot to prepare it for mass production and to modify the file. Most often, the main reason for the same sticking of the cartridge when feeding is the weapon magazine. Nevertheless, the weapon passed tests and, albeit with grief in half, they passed. This means that the reasons should be sought not so much in the design of the store or the entrance to the chamber as in the material from which it is made. Perhaps the lack of rigidity of the same magazine sponges was the cause of this problem. Is this a serious problem? Absolutely not. Is it difficult to fix it? No. Nevertheless, with such a problem, the weapon has already been released and began to be used, and it is not customary for us to recall the goods already sold.
The next problem was the firing failures due to the shutter not fully rolling back to the end, which caused the sleeves to get stuck during extraction. Here you need to look in two directions at once. Firstly, you need to look at the quality of the cartridges, which has been walking around as it wants lately. Personally, I was once made a strong impression when, along with the gunpowder, either rust or some other dirt that obviously should not have been there spilled out of the cartridge case. Secondly, you also need to look towards the quality of production. The breakdown in the stiffness of the return springs, the low quality of processing of the rubbing surfaces, all this can lead to such unpleasant results. The quality of ammunition, judging by the reviews of familiar athletes, has not yet been figured out, but the quality of production of the weapon itself has already been significantly improved, and the result was not long in coming - the delays in firing disappeared when using normal cartridges.
As for the ergonomics of weapons, then there really are drawbacks that cannot be eliminated. The pistol grip will not fit everyone - it is too large for the owners of small palms, but for people with a large palm size, on the contrary, it is very comfortable. Here, as they say, you will not please everyone, and half measures in the form of overlays on the back of the handle are still half measures, although this is better than nothing.
A lot of criticism was expressed against the sighting devices of the pistol, they say, it is impossible to provide accurate fire with them. It should be borne in mind that in this case, sniper shooting is not provided, the weapon is combat, it is necessary to impose requirements on it in terms of aiming speed, and not high accuracy.
The appearance of the weapon has also been criticized several times. It is difficult to argue with the fact that PYa cannot be called a handsome man among pistols, especially modern ones. Indeed, so to speak, the "design" of the weapon is somewhat outdated, and would be more appropriate for a pistol of the mid-twentieth century than for a modern one. The presence of sharp edges does not affect the ease of use, however, that is, that is.
I would not call the PYa pistol one of the worst. Most of the reasons for the negative attitude towards this pistol lies in the fact that they launched it into production frankly raw, without preparation for mass production. Obviously, many of the nuances that inevitably emerge during the mass production of a product were simply not taken into account. The design of the pistol itself has already been tested in dozens, if not hundreds of other pistols, which means that it is quite workable and the reason lies in other little things, which together give a negative result. Nevertheless, at the moment, all the shortcomings, except for the appearance and ergonomics, in this weapon have been eliminated, and the weapon has become fully operational and suitable for mass distribution.
Now many are betting on Lebedev's pistol as a weapon that will replace Yarygin's pistol. With a probability of 100%, it can be predicted that a complete replacement will not occur, since somewhere it will be necessary to put the PUs that have already been produced and are in operation. So Yarygin's pistol is for a long time, you have to put up with it.
In the process of reading Charlie Gao's article, I did not leave the feeling that he made his next top 5, not relying on personal opinion, but on the opinion of the majority of visitors to sites related to firearms, and given that the list contains the M1895 revolver, the links of these sites to the world of firearms are clearly weak.
Despite the fact that any opinion supported by the arguments has the right to life, in this case the arguments are rather weak. For the most part, the reasons why this or that weapon model is one of the worst are far-fetched. An example with the same revolver of the Nagan brothers, which was classified as unsuccessful only because it had been in service for a long time and could not be replaced, is the brightest. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to see what foreign experts write about domestic weapons.
Original article by Charlie Gao: