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Personal Defence Weapons; East Vs West, Doctrine & What Is/isn't


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#1 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 1440 PM

I've just had quite an interesting (if not heated) debate with a gamer over a particular Russian-built weapon and if its classed as a Personal Defence Weapon or not.

 

The particular weapon is the SR-2/SR-2M "Veresk" submachine gun.  According to him, the only PDW that the Russian armaments industry every bothered to produce was the PP-2000 (which to be fair on many websites, its listed as being a PDW/SMG anyway).  And because the AKS-74U is a compact assault rifle, it doesn't really count as such.

 

So here's a couple of things he caused me to mull over, for curiousity-sake really but since doctrine is always different especially from East to West, its an interesting point to consider.

 

1: Thinking about the two best-known PDW's (the H&K MP7 and FN P90), the SR-2/M fires non-standard 9x21mm ammunition which is designed to deal with bullet proof glass/body armour at decent ranges (up to 200m according to Wiki).  The size and weight of the weapon seem to be very impressive considering the firepower potential - which is one of the main design considerations of a PDW anyway, right?  So is it classed as a PDW by definition then?

 

2: PDW's themselves are pretty much a niche weapon it would appear.  Although I think the AKS-74U probably makes the best of criteria like simplicity and available parts not to mention magazines and standard ammunition, where does a compact or chopped-down assault rifle stop and a dedicated PDW actually take over?  Is there really anything more to it than just giving it a different stock and called it a "PDW", like the MP5K-PDW... :huh:

 

Small arms aren't usually something I read much into (well apart from the Sten and the Sterling perhaps, but that's only because they were part of the display at the CHARM museum on the Isle of Wight).  Amazing how different such things can seem when you see them in person.

 

 



#2 shep854

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 1656 PM

The shorty M16s which evolved into the M4s were intended for this niche as well.  And of course, the M1 carbine was conceived as a PDW.



#3 CaptLuke

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 2235 PM

PDW is a very slippery term, more situational/doctrinal than technical.  For example, pre-assault rifle, the same submachine gun could be the primary weapon of an infantryman (clearly not a PDW) or the last ditch, self defense only piece of equipment for a tanker (i.e. a PDW).  Short 5.56mm carbines also blur the lines, starting out as "carbines" and turning into general issue weapons (M16/M4, as Shep pointed out, and also the Tavor/micro-Tavor).

 

I think that, practically, PDWs divide into two broad classes: the first is carbine type weapons, including SMGs, that are shorter and handier than a standard infantry weapon but are still carried and handled much like a rifle would be.  The second is weapons that can be carried hands free, pistols being the classic but also machine pistols and some interesting hybrids like the ARES FMG, the British MCEM-2, and the colt SCAMP.



#4 lastdingo

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0111 AM

I once ran an entire website about PDWs till I got tired of paying for the webspace...

Back then I identified anything from machine pistols up to shortened small/intermediate calibre assault rifles as PDWs of some kind because there was no generally agreed-on definition, and all those categories did fit the occasional usage of the acronym "PDW".

My categories were SCHV PDWs, subcarbines, high power hand guns (long 9 mm), machine pistols and "other guns".

 

The Russians had lots of powerful 9 mm models that could be considered to be PDWs at that time, in addition to AKSU and some 5.45/7.62 prototype carbines.

I would count PP-93 as PDW, for exmaple.



#5 bojan

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0635 AM

AKS-74U is "assault rifle, folding stock, shortened", just as designation says.

PDW is a weapon primary intended on replacing pistols, while AKS-74U replaced full sized rifles (RPG-7 gunner, MG/AGL crew etc, platoon and company commanders, plt and co radioman etc, all of whom had full size rifles before), While it was used by armored units personal in wars in particular, by the book Soviet tanks have one full blown AR (AKS/AKMS/AKS-74/AK-74M, depending on the time period), and AKS-74U are not actually found in the armored vehicle equipment.

 

9A91/AS Val are, as designation says "Assault rifle, special purpose", so again not PDW.

VSS Vintorez/VSK-94 are special purpose sniper rifle.

SR-3 is a shorter version of AS Val, playing same role as AKS-74U plays in regular units. It has some elements of PDW, but main purpose was different.



#6 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0646 AM

Thank you all for the replies. It certainly seems to be quite a grey area then, depending on usage and deployment as much as anything else.

What's most curious about the SR-1 pistol is that the Veresk SMG was an afterthought, an automatic weapon that fires the same 9x21mm round and yet still keep a compact design: asked for by the FSB supposedly.

Even the somewhat successful PP-19 Bizon has been called a PDW a few times. It seemed to find more use within police units so perhaps PDW might be a better term for their requirements.

#7 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0650 AM

AKS-74U is "assault rifle, folding stock, shortened", just as designation says.
PDW is a weapon primary intended on replacing pistols, while AKS-74U replaced full sized rifles (RPG-7 gunner, MG/AGL crew etc, platoon and company commanders, plt and co radioman etc, all of whom had full size rifles before), While it was used by armored units personal in wars in particular, by the book Soviet tanks have one full blown AR (AKS/AKMS/AKS-74/AK-74M, depending on the time period), and AKS-74U are not actually found in the armored vehicle equipment.
 
9A91/AS Val are, as designation says "Assault rifle, special purpose", so again not PDW.
VSS Vintorez/VSK-94 are special purpose sniper rifle.
SR-3 is a shorter version of AS Val, playing same role as AKS-74U plays in regular units. It has some elements of PDW, but main purpose was different.


Thanks you for your detailed reply Bojan. By your own definition, would you consider the SR-2M Veresk a PDW or more of a special purpose submachine gun that by function is similar to the more recognised P90 and MP7?

#8 bojan

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0734 AM

It is a SMG. It is used by Russian SF when needed, same way "western" SF would use MP-5. It has better penetration that 9x19mm SMGs, but that is due the local needs (large availability of bulletproof vests among criminals/terrorists).

 

Closest equivalent to a MP-7 would be PP-2000, as it was intended to replace pistols, but I am not sure if it was ever adopted.

 

Looking on how it is used, I would say P90 failed at "PDW" role, but had some success as a specialized SMG among SF.

Only PDW that seems to be successful among "regular" army units is MP-7.


Edited by bojan, 14 September 2017 - 0736 AM.


#9 shep854

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0850 AM

Bear in mind that a pistol was to replace a rifle for troops whose jobs precluded rifle carry, for personal defense,  so any weapon intended primarily for defending one's person rather than attacking another over a distance (offensive use) is actually a PDW, so an AKS-74U would fall into that category--can anyone imagine a line unit in the assault armed primarily with them?



#10 lastdingo

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0906 AM

The entire PDW history has been one of disappointments.

Colt SCAMP and Colt MARS were both interesting approaches, but in the end introducing another calibre for non-combat troops just makes no sense.

 

I'm flabbergasted why the 9x19 discarding plastic sabot ideas didn't achieve any success.



#11 bojan

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0915 AM

Problem is that by that metrics AK/M16 becomes PDW if issued to artillerymen? Or various 19th century carbines were PDWs in that case also? :) They also replaced pistols among cavalry and artillery...

 

As for regular issue - Soviet paratrooper engineers had AKS-74U as a primary weapon (8-men squad had 4-5, 2 x RPKS-74 and  1-2 x AKS-74, those being equipped with GP-25 UBGL, due the fact that AKS-74U can not mount GP-25). So, again I would not dare call AKS-74U PDW any more than XM-177 was in US use in Vietnam.

Various Spetsnaz formations also used AKS-74U as a primary offensive weapon.

It was a specialized weapon, but it was not just "in case of SHTF" weapon like PDWs are portrayed.

 

Only place where AKS-74U replaced pistol is Co Commander , who previously by the book carried Stechkin APS (which could be classified as PDW), even if in practice since late '60s they most often carried regular rifle.

 

IMO whole "PDW" moniker is almost purely marketing term, since any small arms can change a role from offensive to "PD" depending to whom it was issued.


Edited by bojan, 14 September 2017 - 0917 AM.


#12 shep854

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 0951 AM

Problem is that by that metrics AK/M16 becomes PDW if issued to artillerymen? Or various 19th century carbines were PDWs in that case also? :) They also replaced pistols among cavalry and artillery...
 
As for regular issue - Soviet paratrooper engineers had AKS-74U as a primary weapon (8-men squad had 4-5, 2 x RPKS-74 and  1-2 x AKS-74, those being equipped with GP-25 UBGL, due the fact that AKS-74U can not mount GP-25). So, again I would not dare call AKS-74U PDW any more than XM-177 was in US use in Vietnam.
Various Spetsnaz formations also used AKS-74U as a primary offensive weapon.
It was a specialized weapon, but it was not just "in case of SHTF" weapon like PDWs are portrayed.
 
Only place where AKS-74U replaced pistol is Co Commander , who previously by the book carried Stechkin APS (which could be classified as PDW), even if in practice since late '60s they most often carried regular rifle.
 
IMO whole "PDW" moniker is almost purely marketing term, since any small arms can change a role from offensive to "PD" depending to whom it was issued.

Like!

#13 Mike Steele

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1443 PM

As a owner of a PS 90, I can say that I think that the concept is confusing.  I completed a tactical rifle course with it, and learned quite a bit. I would have done better with My Sig 556. But it was none the less.  When I got home I took the time to get the stuff I  should have done prior the class. The PS 90 has some legal restrictions (barrel length) that influenced the design of it. There was more to learn about accessorize it than using it. Ammo pouches slings and the like...... 

 

I'd like to repeat the course now.....


Edited by Mike Steele, 14 September 2017 - 1444 PM.


#14 Chris Werb

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1523 PM

Mike, does your going for the PS90 have anything to do with living near Cheyenne Mountain? :)

 



#15 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1549 PM

I once ran an entire website about PDWs till I got tired of paying for the webspace...

Back then I identified anything from machine pistols up to shortened small/intermediate calibre assault rifles as PDWs of some kind because there was no generally agreed-on definition, and all those categories did fit the occasional usage of the acronym "PDW".

My categories were SCHV PDWs, subcarbines, high power hand guns (long 9 mm), machine pistols and "other guns".

 

The Russians had lots of powerful 9 mm models that could be considered to be PDWs at that time, in addition to AKSU and some 5.45/7.62 prototype carbines.

I would count PP-93 as PDW, for exmaple.

Just had a chance to look through that website of yours and I must say job well done!  Never knew half of those even existed...

 

Cracking stuff.



#16 shep854

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1610 PM

As a owner of a PS 90, I can say that I think that the concept is confusing.  I completed a tactical rifle course with it, and learned quite a bit. I would have done better with My Sig 556. But it was none the less.  When I got home I took the time to get the stuff I  should have done prior the class. The PS 90 has some legal restrictions (barrel length) that influenced the design of it. There was more to learn about accessorize it than using it. Ammo pouches slings and the like...... 
 
I'd like to repeat the course now.....

Just don't stand to Mike's left... :P

Edited by shep854, 14 September 2017 - 1610 PM.


#17 Olof Larsson

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1653 PM

Speaking of the FN P90:
 

There is nothing that quite says: "I'm a ninja, and I'm here to party", like a FN P90.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=iU44_WWRcww



#18 Panzermann

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1722 PM

MALL ninja. Mall ninja that is. ^_^

 

It is funny how knowledgeable he actually is despite his mannerisms.



#19 Mike Steele

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1837 PM

 

As a owner of a PS 90, I can say that I think that the concept is confusing.  I completed a tactical rifle course with it, and learned quite a bit. I would have done better with My Sig 556. But it was none the less.  When I got home I took the time to get the stuff I  should have done prior the class. The PS 90 has some legal restrictions (barrel length) that influenced the design of it. There was more to learn about accessorize it than using it. Ammo pouches slings and the like...... 
 
I'd like to repeat the course now.....

Just don't stand to Mike's left... :P

 

:P

(You learn who your friends are too) ;)



#20 Mike Steele

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 1842 PM

Mike, does your going for the PS90 have anything to do with living near Cheyenne Mountain? :)

 

 

Yea it came with Maj Carter  :wub:






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