Russia’s PPK-20 Submachine: The Gun No Military Wants?
The improved weapons fixes some issues and Moscow is eager to make more foreign arms deals.
Kalashnikov Concern will soon begin shipping its PPK-20 submachine gun. “PPK-20 supplies have not yet taken place; they are planned in 2021,” Kalashnikov CEO Dmitriy Tarasov told reporters earlier this week at the IDEX 2021 arms show.
First unveiled in 2020, the PPK-20 is a 9x19 mm caliber submachine gun designed on the basis of the early 2000’s PP-19-01 “Vityaz-SN.” The weapon traces its distant lineage back to the PP-19 Bizon, a 1993 submachine gun chambered in 9x18mm Makarov. PPK stands for Pistolet-Pulemyot Kalashnikova, or “Kalashnikov Submachine Gun.” But, as previously observed by others, the PPK moniker is not a reference to the famous AK-47 inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov; it is, rather, meant to honor his son Victor Kalashnikov, the lead designer of the original Bizon who passed away in 2018.
At a weight of roughly three kilograms and folded length of 46 cm, the PPK-20 boasts nearly the same proportions as its predecessor. It, too, is fed from a thirty-round box magazine. But these basic similarities belie numerous smaller differences. In similar fashion as to the intent behind the new AK-12 platform, the PPK-20 introduces a slew of modern features while preserving the Vityaz-SN’s classic design. A slick promotional video, published last year by Kalashnikov, highlights the PPK-20’s main improvements and additions over its predecessor. The submachine gun features a six-position adjustable, left-side folding buttstock, as well as a grooved grip for improved ergonomics.
The submachine gun’s picatinny rail mount ensures compatibility with numerous firearms accessories, a major boon over the standard-issue Vityaz. The PPK-20 boasts a quick-attach silencer mount, and apparently ships with an included suppressor. Also included is a belt that can be fastened at several points, and a tactical-style bag for carrying magazines, cleaning tools, silencers, and other accessories. As with much of Kalashnikov’s modernized AK lineup, a redesigned selector switch allows for more streamlined operation. The weapon’s 9mm rounds are compact, lightweight, and offer relatively low recoil, all of which are major benefits to the police forces for whom the PPK-20 is intended.
The major furniture overhaul notwithstanding, the PPK-20 also addresses the reported problems in Vityaz-SN’s production process that could lead to isolated manufacturing issues; indeed, Kalashnikov’s promotional video explicitly notes that the PPK-20 “passed official trials” and was “deemed fit for mass production.”
While there is no exact civilian variant to the PPK-20 or its predecessor, Kalashnikov USA’s KR-9 SBR is a close attempt at reproducing the aesthetics and general handling experience of a Vityaz-style firearm. The PPK-20 is expected to replace the Vityaz-SN for select personnel serving in Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Security Service (FSB), and Federal Protective Service (FSO). Concrete export plans have yet to be announced, but the PPK-20’s presence at the IDEX 2021 exhibition is a sure sign that Kalashnikov intends to market the submachine gun to foreign customers.
Mark Episkopos is the new national security reporter for the National Interest.