RPK-style rifle to be available in the USA

RPK-style rifle to be available in the USA

Marco 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.

Among the new rifles I got to handle while visiting "Molot" Arsenal in town of Vyatskiye Polyany in Russia was the new Vepr-1V. Essentially a, sporterized RPK, the Vepr-1V embodies all the features of its original predecessor. Save one: selective fire.

I could hardly contain my excitement when the rifle was brought out during our meetings at the Director General Offices. The gun was dressed in black (updated for RPKM-74) plastic and sported the desirable side-folding stock. This particular rifle was chambered in 5.56x45 NATO (.223), but the plant technical director said that models in 5.45X39 and 7.62X39 will also be available.

I have written about the RPK during Soviet times. There are conflicting opinions about its effectiveness and the role it plays within a unit. Some try to compare it to the PKM light machine gun. Obviously, a lighter gun firing a smaller cartridge comes out a loser. In my opinion, the RPK's bad rap is undeserved, and the comparison to the PKM is a mistake at best. I think both come from simple ignorance.


The fact is that the RPK is an excellent weapon when used properly. It is essentially an AK on steroids. That makes it a great addition to a squad. There's no need to retrain the operator and it takes the same magazines, which is very important in a gunfight.


But what makes it special are a longer and heavier barrel and 30%-50% larger capacity magazine. The heavier barrel allows longer bursts and the larger capacity magazine provides longer intervals between reloading, which makes RPK a great support weapon.

Obviously, it does not come close to the PKM in firepower. However, the ability to fire it as a conventional rifle and a lower weight that allows the gun to be easily maneuvered makes an RPK a very valuable addition to any dynamic close-contact firefight.

The attached bipod and lack of recoil make the RPK a formidable weapon at distance as well. We utilized these guns with great effect in Afghanistan. So the RPK was ever present on any combat mission my unit was involved in.

Now this very weapon is a part of the new "Molot" lineup. Obviously, in order for the Vepr-1V to be importable, it has to comply with laws and regulations, and as such will have to have some features removed or modified. The U.S. version will have a thumbhole stock instead of the sexy folder, and there will be no bipod or flash hider.


However, the gun will come with correct front furniture, proper for an RPK length barrel, adjustable rear sight and side-mounted optics rail. We should catch a glimpse of this new rifle at IO, Inc. booth at upcoming SHOT Show.

The RPKS-74 has all the attributes of its military ancestor: the bipod, folding stock, flash hider, etc. The Vepr-IV will have a thumbhole stock for import.


Many authorities have pooh-poohed the RPK, but Vorobiev says it was a formidable weapon in the right hands, providing support fire as seen here in Afghanistan.

The Vepr-1V will come with a 10-round box-type mag and a drum. But don't get excited; the latter is a regular 10-round magazine cleverly disguised as a drum.

Some features will have to be removed for importation. No folding stock and pistol grip, but a thumbhole stock instead; no bipod and no flash hider.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with Hornady 4DOF

Hornady Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with Hornady 4DOF

The Hornady Kestrel 5700 combines complete onsite environmental measurements with Hornady 4DOF trajectory solutions.

Springfield Hellcat OSP Review

Springfield Hellcat OSP Review

Patrick Sweeney takes the Springfield Hellcat OSP to the range to test it out!

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

David Fortier had the chance to fire the Lahti L-39 while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV while on location at DriveTanks.com.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be a virtual online event, due to the current COVID-19 situation. Industry

2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference Is Online Event Due to COVID-19

Second Amendment Foundation - July 16, 2020

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by...

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises don't matter 2nd Amendment

Gun Control Speeches at DNC Misleading

JPFO - August 21, 2020

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises...

Virginia Republican Rep. Glenn Davis introduced two pro-2A measures in a special session that are designed to partially roll back some restrictive laws. 2nd Amendment

Fighting Back in Virginia

Mark Chesnut - August 24, 2020

Virginia Republican Rep. Glenn Davis introduced two pro-2A measures in a special session that...

While Germany is the Edenic home of modern sniping, they were always one step behind the Soviets during World War II, despite fielding some excellent sniper rifles. Rifles

German Sniper Rifles of World War I and II

David M. Fortier - August 13, 2020

While Germany is the Edenic home of modern sniping, they were always one step behind the...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

Introduced in late 2018, the SIG M400 TREAD is still one of the two best AR-­15s on the market priced under $1,000. Rifles

SIG Sauer M400 TREAD Rifle Review

James Tarr - June 10, 2020

Introduced in late 2018, the SIG M400 TREAD is still one of the two best AR-­15s on the market...

If you have always wanted a real GI M1 carbine, Royal Tiger Imports has found a cache for shooters and collectors! Rifles

Royal Tiger Imports GI M1 Carbines

David M. Fortier - September 03, 2020

If you have always wanted a real GI M1 carbine, Royal Tiger Imports has found a cache for...

This new Ruger 10/22 Target rifle features an attractive orange and black laminate thumbhole stock with an adjustable length pull as well as a sleek, stainless steel barrel and action. Rifles

Ruger 10/22 Target with Orange and Black Thumbhole Stock

Firearms News Staff - July 29, 2020

This new Ruger 10/22 Target rifle features an attractive orange and black laminate thumbhole...

Vincent DeNiro, editor of Firearms News, does some shooting with the Aero Precision Atlas S-One 7.5-Inch AR pistol upper in 5.56. Rifles

Firearms News Takes a Look at the Aero Precision 7.5-Inch AR Pistol Upper In 5.56

Vincent L. DeNiro, Editor - June 05, 2020

Vincent DeNiro, editor of Firearms News, does some shooting with the Aero Precision Atlas...

See More Rifles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now