AS Val, VSS Vintorez, OTs-14 Groza, and more: 9x39mm with Max Popenker

Today we welcome back Max Popenker of to discuss the Soviet and Russian development of the 9x39mm suppressed rifle cartridge. From the early unsuccessful and sidetracked efforts to replace the PBS suppressor through the AMB-17 currently in development by the Kalashnikov Concern, we will discuss the AS Val, VSS Vintorez, OTS-14 Groze, SR-3, SR-3M, VSK-94, and more!


  1. “(…)OTS-14 Groze(…)”
    OTs-14 Groza. Meaning storm or thunderstorm; also phonetically similar to у гроза that is threat or danger or menace or hazard or risk.

    If you want to know how did look that sub-sonic cartridge based on 5,45×39 see 1st image from top (click to enlarge):

    Vintorez means “thread-cutter” (machine which cuts threads [in barrel]), this named appeared in 1983, according to data in above link. Obfuscate names are nothing new in military-industry, but this one is far less imaginative, if I could say so, than 1950s British names – like for example GREEN CHEESE anti-shipping missile or PINK HAWK air-to-air missile

      • The city was named for a ninteenth century Russian fort. There was also a Czar, though his name is usually slightly mistranslated into English as “Ivan the terrible”; I gather from Russian speakers that it would be more correct to say “Ivan the fearsome”, or even “Ivan the redoubtable”.

        • Colin Wilson (The History of Murder) transliterates it as “Ivan Strozhny“, meaning “Ivan (John) the Awesome” or “the Awe-Inspiring“.



        • Your link leads to BULGARIAN site, not Russian. Russian language have word “Vintorez” only as a slsng for “rifle”.


            The link above is Bulgarian, but this person is wrong, and yes, it is a machine or an instrument used for rifling. The word “vintovka” was introduced in 1856 as the term for full-length firearms witch have rifled barrel and stock, but before that it was a slang term dating back as far as late XVIII century. Before 1856 rifles were called винтовальное ружьё (vintoval’noye ruzhyo, rifled gun) or shtutzer (from German Stutzen), and the military decided that the term “vintovka” would be easily understandable to average soldiers who were mainly coming from peasantry and lowest class city folk. On the other hand, smoothbore long guns were (and still are) called “ружьё”(ruzhyo).

            As for names, Russian naming system has a bunch of long-standing traditions, in case of VSS, the rifle was probably called Vintorez both because words “vint” and “vintovka” are cognate and VSS itself was designed as a hard-hitting special-purpose weapon, a tool for a specialist which could cut through body armor.

            As for other strange names:
            -TKB-0027 “Bouquet” experimental submachine gun
            -The “D” Device (Dyatel, woodpecker, a word that has some negative connotations in Russian language) noiseless grenade launcher
            -GP-25 “Kostyor” (bonfire) underbarrel grenade launcher
            -GP-30 “Obuvka” (footwear)
            -OTs-21 “Malysh” (little one)
            -RPG-22 “Netto” (net, like in net mass)
            -Rubber bullet for the 23mm Volna-R cartridge goes by the name “Privet” (hello, or greetings)

            The funniest ones are mainly police equipment like the PUS-1 “Argument” baton, “Gentleness” handcuffs and some bulletproof vests: “Poncho”, “Shield” (just a transliterated English word) and so on, but that’s a whole another topic

  2. Is it just me or does Russia have an obsession with silently terrorizing people to death with its special forces? Just kidding!

  3. Clearly, the are two mutually independent concepts how to achieve kill at a medium to extended range. One is of course with fast flying low drag bullet and other is with slower but mighty punch. Which one is better? It probably all depends on tactical situation.

    The Russians mastered the latter, as it seems. And it started with KGB’s and security, not military’s request. Isn’t that funny?

    • It also seems to be a good way of borrowing development from a different department. “If better solution is found in roommate’s homework, and we are not explicitly instructed to do assignment solo, can we collaborate?”

      • Yes, you are correct. And it also shows that on background of complexity of internal events and developments, the U.S. and Russia are not that far apart. It is likely that similar is development in heavy weapons area.

        Let’s just watch the current NGSW event. No one will loose. No worry, taxpayer foots the bill as always.

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