Chechen 9x18mm BORZ machine-pistol
The BORZ ("Wolf") machine-pistol (due to its dimensions, that's more likely assimilable to a large pistol cabable of selective fire than to a real sub-machinegun or machine-carbine) is clandestinely produced in metal workshops of Chechnya to equip "Self-Defence Forces", partisans and separatist-terrorist formations. The weapon is based on the PPS (Sudaev) WW2-era machine-carbine, and it is a blowback-operated gun. Lock is provided by a return spring. The barrel is securely fastened to the bolt. With the forward movement, the bolt extracts the cartridge from the magazine and chambers it. The weapon fires from the open bolt, and the bullet is ignited by striking pin. The pressure of solid-reactant gases on the bottom of case retards the blow-back at the moment of the shot, and such principle (the retarded blow-back) made it possible to decrease the mass of the bolt and the recoil. The receiver group is made of stampet sheet steel. The magazine well and the grip are connected to it by spot welding (or sometimes by screws). The bolt is fixed by screws. The very simple sights are all in one with the receiver group. The cocking handle is top-mounted; the BORZ machine-pistol sometimes features a small up-folding stock to help controlling the weapon while full-automatic firing. The magazine construction is borrowed from the World War 2 - time German "Schmeisser" MP-40. A second generation machinepistol-submachinegun, called BORZ-20, has been recently spotted in Chechenya; according to the sources the BORZ-20 is a clone of the Israeli MICRO-UZI, firing from the closed-bolt position and having an higher capacity magazine (40 rounds) that's housed in the grip; a sound suppressor might apparently be attached to this BORZ-20. Pros of the project: the weapon is compact enough, and the availability of low-capacity magazines allows to carry the weapon concealed and ready to fire. The safe - fire selector switch is placed a position that makes possible to switch the safety off and select semi-auto or full-auto fire while still holding the weapon from the grip, and keeping the finger at the trigger's reach; and, since the cocking handle is placed upside, that can be cocked ambidextrously. Also, the grip of this weapon is reported to be fairly ergonomic, and the elongated magazine well can be hold as a foregrip to allow better control of the weapon in full-autofire. The fore part of the bolt has been engineered with a protrudescence to work as a spent cases deflector, so that such an item is not required as a separate part. Cons of the project: the offensive capabilities of this weapon in actual combat situations is modest due to its weak cartridge and of the general low quality in manufacture of most existing BORZ machine-pistols (which are for the most part made in clandestinely-made in backyard workshops). The weapon is largely inaccurate in full-autofire, and its short aiming line further decreases the accuracy. Bolt, barrel and sights tend to wear out. The presence of the up-folding butt (in the models that are actually provided with it) doesn't even helps much in aimed fire because its accommodation is actually defective, and it can be partially effective in its function only if kept against the stomach or the thigh. The bolt of this machine-pistol has a very short service life; the safety of the weapon can be engaged only when the bolt is open, and this can lead to accidental discharges if the BORZ is dropped or receives a hit. Reliability is also poor. The dirt normally caused by the shooting can pollute the chamber or the bolt, thus leading to misfires. The tooth of the ejector can often cause the separation of the bullet case collar (or of a piece of the case anyway) that goes stuck in the ejection window, causing jammings or preventing a new round from being chambered. The early opening of bore leads to the ejection of solid-reactant gases inside the receiver group, and this doesn't only causes the rapid overheating of the weapon, but also dirts the striking pin. -THE HISTORY AND THE CURRENT SITUATION- The Chechen-manufactured BORZ is one of a number of weapons, made, reconfigured or repaired in Chechnya, which enable enemies of the Russian military and the pro-Moscow Chechen police force to continue their fight at very low cost. The net result is that even if the Russian authorities were to manage to stop the theft of weapons, or their trade and sale to the rebels, a substantial arsenal will remain in their hands. The 9x18mm BORZ machine-pistol is an ideal weapon for sudden attacks. It is a small compact gun, whose lightness and ease of use makes up for its poor technical quality. Here are some declarations of Maj. ANATOLY MEDVEDEV, an FSB (Russian Intelligence Service) officer dispatched to Chechenya: "This machine-pistol has quite poor tactical and technical features. The 9x18mm bullets from the Makarov pistol, used in the BORZ, are too powerful for the steel from which the gun’s barrel is made and wear it out quickly. After shooting two or three cartridges, a Borz simply begins to ‘spit’ the bullets out. Nonetheless, I would describe this gun as ideal for saboteurs and killers. It has entirely fulfilled its purpose as a weapon used by paramilitary groups of a partisan type. It has a fantastic rate of fire, and once all the bullets have been fired it can simply be thrown away. As far as I know, a BORZ costs very little in Chechenya, about 100 US Dollars, and its production requires little effort or expense". The BORZ machine-pistol was first produced in 1992 in Grozny’s Krasny Molot factory by the order of the first Chechen president. General Jokhar Dudayev, who personally received the first manufactured weapon bearing the number, 0001. Industrial production of the gun soon stopped due to the lack of good-quality metal and the outbreak of war in 1994. But the homemade manufacture of these weapons has continued up until recently. VLADIMIR SEMCHENKO, head of the science department at Moscow’s Central Army Forces Museum of Russia, declares that the main military museum of the country has several Chechen BORZ machine-pistols in its collection: "One of them was given to our museum as a gift by General Gennady Troshev [who formerly commanded Russian troops in Chechenya]. The exemplars of this gun that we have differ from one another both in their technical features and in appearance, which indicates that they were homemade". ADLAN MUSAYEV, formerly employed at the Krasny Molot factory, declares: "Only an handful of huntdeds of BORZ machine-pistols were produced there but it had spawned many more copies. As far as I recall, in two military campaigns the only weapon the extremists have managed to develop and start makeshift production of is the primitive BORZ machine-pistol." -TECHNICAL SPECS- CALIBER: 9x18mm-PM (Makarov) CAPACITY: 15, 20 or 30 rounds magazines have been spotted with this weapon MUZZLE VELOCITY: From 280 to 340 Metres Per Second WEIGHT: 2 Kilograms TOTAL LENGHT: 44 Centimetres BARREL LENGHT (data not certain): about 20 Centimetres REPORTED MAXIMUM LETHALITY RANGE: 50 Metres RATE OF FIRE: From 40 to 130 Rounds Per Minute -MANUFACTURER- Previously: KRASNY MOLOT, Grozny, Chechenya (Commonwealth of Independent States) Currently: Unknown. Possibly clandestine workshops. Both official and clandestine manufacture of this weapon are reported to have been ceased so far, but the current geo-political situation of Chechenya makes impossible to know for sure. -STATUS- Unknown. KRASNY MOLOT - made specimens are in use with some Chechenyan Pro-Moscow governmental forces; clandestine-made specimens are widespread between Chechenyan rebels.
Photos and information from: Pierangelo Tendas