November 02, 2011
Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He's a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He'll have a new installment every Wednesday.
I have written about my recent trip to "Molot" Arms Plant in Vyatskiye Polyany, Russia and my visit to their shooting range. Today I want to talk about another new and exciting "Molot" product that is about to hit our shores.
Considering the immense popularity of Izhevsk "Saiga-12" shotgun in the States I was naturally drawn to one of the newest offerings from "Molot". Among the array of various weapons that were laid out on the table for our shooting pleasure was a new 12-gauge shotgun dressed in tactical configuration and looking remarkably similar to "Saiga-12-30" series. Except it was not made by Izhmash, but made by "Molot" plant the Vepr-12.
As I've mentioned it was dressed as a tactical shotgun. It had a folding tubular stock with rotating cheekpiece and Molot pistol grip, hinged Picatinny rail atop of action cover, thumb safety coupled with modified traditional AK safety, mag well, polymer handguards with Picatinny rails, combined gas block and front sight with Picatinny rail underneath. With all this coolness there was more: the bold hold-open feature and BHO release button to the right of the trigger. This is a long-awaited feature that will be appreciated by the American shooters. The threaded barrel was tipped with a cage-type flash suppressor.
Without further ado, I loaded eight rounds in to the magazine and went to work. This thing kicked like a mule — No! Like a Clydesdale Stallion. By round five, I was ready to quit, but I didn't. I finished first mag off and reloaded it with high-brass 3-inch shells we were shooting that day. Through the entire exercise I was grinning and may have dropped a happy expletive or two. I managed to "kill" a rifle crate that served as target backing. It toppled over and by the looks of it wasn't going to get up. Shooting the Vepr-12 was just too much fun.
Now, although the gun we shot was fully equipped like a tactical shotgun with all the bells and whistles, the US model will have a slightly different configuration. It will have 18º-inch barrel with no muzzle device of any kind (though the gun could use a muzzle brake), it will not have Picatinny rails under the gas block/front sight or handguards, it will, however retain the coolest rail on the hinged top cover, it will not have the folding stock feature and it will come with five-round magazine. Nevertheless, we should be able to see it at I.O., Inc. booth at the upcoming Shot Show in January.
The new Vepr-12 is the coolest-looking 12-gauge shotgun Vorobiev's ever seen. It includes all the desirable features that a tactical shotgun should. The top cover Picatinny rail, mag well, folding stock, modified safety, Picatinny equipped hand guards, flash suppressor, just to name a few.
As cool as new Vepr-12 appeared, the American version will lack several of the cool features. It will have a folding stock, no muzzle device, no Picatinny rails on handguards and FSB. Other than that, it will keep the others.
Though this gun kicked like a mule, shooting it was fun. It shot extremely well with no malfunctions of any kind.
One of the features that the American model will keep is the bolt hold open function. Moreover, there is a bolt release button just above the trigger.