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Groza Small Arms System

   During the second half of the 1960s the experience of local conflicts in South East Asia confirmed the effectiveness of individual small arms capable of engaging single and multiple targets. In motorized rifle units these capabilities were revealed by the system combining an assault rifle and underbarrel grenade launcher. The idea of a universal weapon, proposed by E. Stoner in the 1950s, was developed during the implementation of the special purpose individual weapon program was initiated in 1962. It resulted in the adoption of the 40mm M203 underbarrel grenade launcher for a version of the M16 rifle for service with the U.S. Army. This innovation in the armament system of the U.S. Army did not remain unnoticed in the USSR. In the late 1970s the Tishina silent small arms-grenade launcher system intended for special missions became operational. Some time later, a system comprising a standard assault rifle and 40mm GP-25 Kostyor underbarrel grenade launcher was put in service. The latter was subsequently replaced by a modernized version, the GP-30 Obuvka. These weapons are widely employed by the Russian Army.
      Experience in combat employment of these weapons disclosed their advantages and drawbacks. For example, the assault rifle, outfitted with the grenade launcher, turned out to be too heavy for the average fighting man. In addition, its installation on the assault rifle led to changes in the pattern of fire and worsened the weapon balance. This led to the idea of combining the assault rifle and grenade launcher into a virtually integral unit to considerably reduce the weight of the entire system, stabilize weapon shooting and, following employment of the Bullpup layout in the new weapon, improve the balance and controllability of the system and decrease its dimensions. This concept was implemented by the Tula Sporting and Hunting Guns Central Research and Design Bureau, based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle and GP-25 underbarrel grenade launcher.

 

Caliber, mm:
- assault rifle
- grenade launcher


9 (SP-5, SP-6)
40

Weight without magazine, kg:
- 9/40mm assault weapon
- 9mm assault rifle
- 9mm small-size assault rifle
- 9mm special assault rifle


3.97
2.93
2.74
3.96

Length, mm:
- 9/40mm assault weapon
- 9mm assault rifle
- 9mm small-size assault rifle
- 9mm special assault rifle


610
565
500
720

Sighting range, m:
- grenade launcher
- assault rifle with iron sight
- assault rifle with optical sight


400
200
400

Magazine capacity, rds

20


OTs-14-4A, basic version


OTs-14-4A-02, small-size version


OTs-14-4A-03, special-mission version

      The weapon was designated OTs-14 Groza. During design work, provision was made for using one of four cartridges: 7.62mm Model 1943 (7.62x39), 5.45mm Model 1974 (5.45x39), 5.56mm NATO (5.56x45) or 9mm SP-5 and SP-6 (9x39). The latter cartridge was designed for the VSS Vintorez special sniper rifle and AS Val special assault rifle; owing to antiricochet performance it was widely used by special Interior Ministry units, as their specifics imply the conduct of urban combat operations. Consequently, the OTs-14-4A version became the main version for the Interior Ministry forces. The weapon was developed by Valery Telesh, author of the aforementioned GP-25 and GP-30. The system also featured a common trigger for the assault rifle and grenade launcher. The firing mode is changed by the selector located on the left side of the grip. The designer did not confine himself to creating one type of weapon. The grenade launcher is easy to remove, and the weapon is transformed into an assault rifle designated OTs-14-4A-01. To carry out special missions, a flash suppressing silencer is fitted on the muzzle and an optical sight is installed. The latter version is designated OTs-14-4A-03. Provision is also made for the OTs-14-4A-02 small-size version without the muzzle attachment. The entire system is stowed in a special carrying and storing case.
      The modular design allows for assembly of one of four weapon versions depending on the assigned mission. The OTs-14-4A is based on the 9mm small-size assault rifle. The grip is displaced forward, making the assault rifle compact, suitable for concealed carrying and so well balanced that it can be fired using one hand as is the case with a pistol. The basic components of the weapon are borrowed from the 5.45mm AKS-74U assault rifle and slightly modified, considerably simplifying the design as a whole and making the weapon cheaper.
      The assault rifle is a gas-operated weapon. It is locked by rotation of the bolt about its longitudinal axis. The feed is effected from a 20-round box magazine.Arrangement of weapon in carrying and storing case.
      The hammer-type firing mechanism allows for single-shot and automatic fire. To change the firing mode, the weapon is provided with a selector, which also serves as safety catch. The sighting devices also deserve mention. The assault rifle is provided with an iron peep sight to fire cartridges at a range of up to 200 m, folding leaf sight for the grenade launcher and a mount for the optical sight to deliver fire at ranges of up to 400 m. In addition, the weapon carries a night sight dovetail mount, obligatory for the Defense Ministry and optional for the Interior Ministry. The weapon fires 9mm SP-5 sniper cartridges and SP-6 armor piercing cartridges.
     
The standard assault rifle differs from the small-size version by the additional front grip with muzzle adapter for holding the weapon with both hands. The silent version has a multichamber silencer attached to the muzzle face by interrupted threads and is by no means inferior in performance terms to its counterparts installed on silent Val and Vintorez weapons. To assemble the basic version of the 9/40mm assault weapon, it is necessary to replace the trigger bed with pistol grip on the basic model and fit the muzzle adapter with sight leaf over the barrel.
      The grenade launcher is locked in position at the rear under the assault rifle barrel behind the trigger guard and attached to the muzzle adapter at the front. The grenade launcher fires VOG-25 and VOG-25P standard fragmentation rounds. The latter model is provided with an expelling charge which ensures the rebound of the grenade on impact and its air burst to effectively defeat a screened target. In addition, a special purpose Gvozd gas grenade can also be used to enhance the weapon versatility.
      It should be noted that the new assault weapon developed by the Sporting and Hunting Guns Central Research and Design Bureau on its own initiative was not noticed by the power ministries for quite a long time, despite its demonstration at several specialized exhibitions. The weapon would have remained one of the numerous forgotten brainchilds of designers without the aid of Russia’s Interior Ministry leadership. After comprehensive tests of the weapon, conducted by Russia’s Interior Ministry Special Equipment Research Institute, and a study on actual demand for Interior Ministry units, the weapon was recommended at the joint committee as a standard assault rifle with grenade launcher and small-size assault rifle chambered for the SP-6 cartridge. Currently the Groza system is produced in small batches by the experimental plant at the Sporting and Hunting Guns Central Research and Design Bureau.
     
The employment of the OTs-14 weapon by special rapid reaction detachments and special-purpose militia detachments of Russia’s Interior Ministry in Chechnya attracted the attention of Defense Ministry specialists. This facilitated the launch of new weapon series production at the Tula Ordnance Plant, where series production of the AKM, AKS-74U and GP-25 weapons had previously been mastered. The assault weapon version chambered for massive and cheaper 7.62x39 cartridge was found more suitable for the army.
      It should be noted by way of conclusion that the OTs-14 Groza is not a universal superweapon intended to arm the entire army and will not become a rival for Kalashnikov assault rifles. It is more likely a weapon for high class professionals. Light, handy and reliable, it will expand the combat capabilities of special purpose units.


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