October 19, 2011
By Marco Vorobiev
As I have already mentioned I have been traveling to Mother Russia quite a bit recently. My recent trip found me in the small town of Vyatskiye Polyany, home to the famous "Molot" weapons factory. This plant was founded in a clean field in September of 1941 during the first onslaught of Nazi Germany. It made its name in weapons manufacturing by developing and producing the famous PPSh-41 submachine gun.
Molot continued to cement itself in firearms manufacturing history by producing the RPK and RPK-74 squad automatics based on Kalashnikov's original design. Along with RPKs, it was the sole maker of the APS "Stechkin" automatic pistol until its production stopped in the 1970s.
The plant has also produced and continues to produce crew-served weapons such as the NSV .50 cal. machine gun and AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher. I covered both of these in my latest installment of "Guns of Spetsnaz" in Shotgun News (8/20 issue).
In spite of recent viscous rumors of "Molot" demise the plant is very much alive and well. Having gone through restructuring, it is a part of the "Rostechnologii" Holding Company that also owns the AK maker "Izhmash" and Makarov pistol manufacturer "Izhmech." As a result of restructuring Molot now places a lot of emphasis on producing guns for the civilian market. And the U.S. firearms market is fixed firmly in their sights. So, this trip I had a chance to shoot several models that would be hitting our shores in the near future.
Stay tuned, I"ll be covering several of them in my next installments the following weeks here.
Vorobiev (fourth from right) and Uli Wiegand of SGN advertiser IO, Inc., (third from left) visited Molot to discuss importing the factory's line of arms to the USA.
There was a variety of guns available for us to shoot. Anything from the World War II Mosin M91/30 to newly introduced Vepr-1V-E. Shooting rests were basic.
Vorobiev couldn't help himself and conducted a small training session while at the Molot rifle range. As a former Spetsnaz man, he's qualified for the job.