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Will This Russian Handgun Become ‘The AK-47 of Pistols’?
Kalashnikov Concern, the largest arms manufacturer in Russia and industrial avatar of AK-47 inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov’s genius, is branching out beyond its iconic assault rifle. The company’s been prototyping everything from autonomous tanks to high-powered sniper rifles, but the Russian weaponsmiths seem most excited about the advanced Lebedev PL-15 pistol: It could, with luck, become what The War Zone called “the AK-47 of pistols.”
The handgun, designed in conjunction with elite Russian police and sportsmen to function as an all-purpose sidearm, is in testing now and could possibly end up in the holsters of military and law enforcement agents around the world, Kalashnikov CEO Alexei Krivoruchko told Russian news agency TASS earlier this month.
"The trials are currently underway and we hope that they will be completed this year,” Krivoruchko said. “We hope that the pistol will be sought after by the Defense Ministry and other uniformed and law enforcement agencies.”
The company’s already got a reputation for manufacturing durable and reliable weapons:
So there’s a lot of appeal in the idea of a reliable pistol crafted in the same spirit of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle. Here are the specs, according to TASS:
According to the corporation’s press office, the pistol chambered for the 9x19mm round is very thin — 21mm at the barrel and 28mm at the grip. It has the controls on both sides, which makes it possible for both right- and left-handed people to use it. Its characteristics ensure reduced recoil and muzzle rise and quick return to the line-of-sight.
As the press office said, the PL-14 pistol has a loaded chamber indicator, which allows the serviceman to know by touch whether the weapon is chambered or not. The pistol coupled with the modified-design chamber can fire rounds with a non-standard length.
The company first trumpeted a prototype PL-14 at a military gear convention in Moscow in 2015, before unveiling an updated PL-15 iteration of the Lebedev. In the December 2015 video below, you can watch U.S. Army Delta Force veteran and firearms expert Larry Vickers testing the original PL-14:
Vickers’s assessment — “a pretty slick gun, accurate, very controllable and easy to reload” — echoes the frequent praise that’s followed the AK-47 in its ascent as the world’s most-used rifle. But as The War Zone points out, effectiveness may not be enough to catapult the completed PL-15 to similar iconic status:
Since 2014, the drop in the global price of crude oil, a major Russian export, and international sanctions on the government in Moscow have led to a significant decline in the overall Russian economy. The United States and the European Union both imposed travel and trade bans in protest over the Kremlin’s activities in Ukraine and Syria.
In October 2016, reports began to appear suggesting the Kremlin might have to reduce defense spending by as much as 30 percent in the coming year. At least one expert suggested the actual cuts would amount to less than 10 percent, but this would still be significant.
Based on what we’ve seen, the PL-15 certainly fits The War Zone’s description of an “AK-47 of handguns.” Whether the Russian military has the cash to elevate the flexible little gun into the world’s most ubiquitous sidearm is another matter entirely.
Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.