Long considered essential beachwear for Russian frogman-types, production is ramping up for the special 4.5mm and 5.66 mm dart-projectile ammo used in the country’s underwater-capable guns. The 4.5mm round fires a mild-steel flechette dart loaded atop a 39.5mm bottlenecked case and is used in the 4-shot SPP-1 pistol while the larger 5.66mm cartridge was designed for the APS rifle system.
Due to automation, the factory can now produce 10,000 of these specialty rounds per day.
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The Soviets have always had a penchant for oddball weapons systems. Determined to never lose the underwater battlespace for lack of heavily armed frogmen, they have some of the most neat-o waterguns.
I’ve covered these in the past for gun sites to include the the Avtomat Podvodnyj Spetsialnyj better known in the west as the APS underwater assault rifle and the Spetsialnyj Podvodnyj Pistolet (Russian for ‘Special Underwater Pistol,’ apparently to differentiate it from the plain underwater pistol) model 1, its moniker is commonly shortened to SPP-1 when written.
With that being said, the below video, posted by Russian media in the Crimea (which is now being beefed up to remain a hard Putin enclave in a very anti-Russki Ukraine), showing Russian Naval Spetsnaz getting down with both of the above weapon platforms, made me squeal like a prepubescent girl at a One Direction concert.
“Combat Swimmers from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet took part in drills in Sevastopol, Thursday, focused on defending the fleet from underwater saboteurs.”
Watch out for those guys, they are pretty hardcore.
So you are a frogman and, while you are froggin it up, you come snorkel-to-snorkel with another wetsuit-clad combat swimmer. You reach for your dive knife but come up short because you realize that you just brought a knife to a gunfight. Well, that dastardly commie has a SPP-1 pistol, and it works underwater.
Underwater divers have been used by militaries around the world for centuries. As far back as the 1843, the British Royal Navy and others used divers for salvage. However, these early divers were tethered to the surface by lines that fed oxygen. The first ‘frogmen’ who swam independent of support ships had to do so with just a set of fins, a facemask, and a knife. These early combat swimmers reconned beaches in World War 2 as well as planted explosives when the opportunity arose.
It wasn’t until self-contained breathing apparatus including open and closed circuit varieties came about in the late 1940s that military divers could stay below the surface for longer periods. This new technology led to a greater flexibility of operations that included the laying of limpet mines on enemy ships in harbor. Soon most modern navies had specialized teams of frogmen optimized for underwater recon, sabotage, and other dirty deeds done dirt-cheap.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com