If you thought that the Vityaz-SN reminded you of another iconic firearm, you’d be right on the money. Developed in 2004 by the Kalashnikov Concern – a merger of two historic firearm makers of Russia, Izhevsk and Izhmash – the Vityaz-SN is an evolution of a PP-19, which wasn’t very successful. Just like the PP-19, the SN – or PP-19-01 – is built on the frame of the AK-74.
The SN has significant parts in changeability with AK-74, which is not surprising considering it shares approximately 70% of its workings with the AK-74.
The trigger, return spring, guide rod and safety mechanisms are just a few examples of parts that are exactly the same on both weapons.
Arming a Military Modernization
The Vityaz, which uses 9×19mm Parabellum (9mm Luger) cartridges, is currently the standard issue submachine gun for every branch of the Russian police force and military, having replaced the long-used AKS-74U assault carbines and Kalashnikov AKM-47 rifles.
Word of the switch was announced in 2008 by the Deputy Head of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The main reasoning behind the change was cited as increased gang violence, though safety issues concerning the age of current weaponry and threats of ricocheting were also brought up.
The news of the transition came at a time when the Russian economy was feeling a boom and when the government felt that NATO and its allies were trying to isolate the nation and keep it from modernizing its military.
Russian officials retaliated by vowing to increase military and defense spending by 50 percent, or what was then £32 billion.
These days, the Vityaz-SN is a common sight around Russia whenever the military or special police forces are in sight. Russia was recently shaken by the murder of prominent politician Boris Nemtsov.
On March 7, a little over a week after the slaying, two men were arrested and charged in connection with the slaying. After the hearing of Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadayev, the two were escorted from the court by a significant police presence. As shown in the picture below, these officers were carrying their standard-issue PP-19-01s.
A Weapon Like No Other
The reasons for why Russian Special Forces and militaries around the world have opted for the Vityaz-SN are numerous. As previously mentioned, the substantial interchangeability with AK-74 parts makes this an extremely easy-to-repair and cost-effective weapon.
Takedown power is another consideration. While AKs feature impressive accuracy and distance, their ammo doesn’t have the same force that you’d find in a 9mm cartridge. The Vityaz-SN marries the best of the worlds, combining the pinpoint accuracy of an AK with the powerful punch of a 9mm.
In a country where crime lords don’t want to see change and progress and will bitterly fight back, wouldn’t you want the power of a weapon like the Vityaz on your side?
The standard PP-19-01 cartridge carries 30 rounds, but a unique housing attached to the weapon allows two magazines to be clipped together for exceptionally fast reloading during combat and military missions. The mechanical operation of this unit is fairly simple: closed bolt, straight blowback with no gas system.