Russian special forces ‘Spetsnaz’ will receive a new assault rifle dubbed “the silent death”
WASHINGTON, (BM) – Russian news outlet Izvestia reported earlier this week that the first shipments of the new “ASM” assault rifle are about to be dispatched to branches of Russian special operations units– commonly known under the umbrella term “Spetsnaz”– starting with the 24th special purpose brigade in Novosibirsk, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The ASM rifle will succeed the AS Val, a popular but aging silenced assault rifle that has seen widespread use among Russian intelligence and special forces outfits since its introduction in 1987.
The AS Val was built around two design principles: near-silent operation and armor-piercing capability. This peculiar blend of power and stealth was made possible through the AS Val’s use of the heavy, subsonic 9x39mm round; its reduced velocity makes it so that it can be fired without breaking the sonic barrier, thus drastically reducing potential gunshot noise when combined with the right integral suppressor.
There is no perfect western equivalent to this Soviet round, but arguably its closest counterpart in drop, energy, and velocity is the .300 Blackout intermediate cartridge.
There is a catch, however: the 9x39mm round’s subsonic speed limits its maximum effective range to about 400 meters, severely constraining its effectiveness as a general-purpose military assault rifle round. Nevertheless, it fills a specific niche for specialized branches of the military and police that prioritize silent operation and armor penetration over range.
Examples of likely use-cases include scouting missions behind enemy lines, nighttime assassinations, and surgical urban operations. The ASM may fill a particularly useful niche for the infamous Alfa Group commando team, an elite counter-terrorism unit within the Federal Security Service (FSB).
The ASM is a deep modernization of its AS Val predecessor, reportedly boasting a redesigned integral suppressor for “practically inaudible” shots. Other improvements include a new bipod, better protection against mud and dust, improved barrel life, expanded picatinny rails, and a 30-round magazine as compared with the AS Val’s 20 rounds. The magazine is apparently made from a “transparent plastic” that allows the operator to visualize ammo consumption; prototypes of these plastic magazines were displayed on AK-12 and AK-74M models in 2012, but little else has been heard of them until now.
Izvestia’s report alleges that the ASM is chambered in the “9mm” round, by which they likely mean the 9×39 mm of its predecessor. The implementation of that caliber is further hinted at by a quote from Colonel Valery Yuryev, who alleges that the ASM will broadly offer the same advantages and suffer from the same basic faults as the AS Val: “the new assault rifle is for professionals.
Any silenced weapon will have less accuracy, velocity, and range when compared with the average firearm. When firing it, more attention needs to be paid to factors like crosswinds, so that the bullet doesn’t veer away from its target.”
The ASM is one of several new weapons being made for Spetsnaz operators, who will also be receiving the “self-loading” Udav pistol– chambered in the 9×21 round– to replace or supplement their 9mm GSh-18.
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Source: National Interest