Aircrew Survival Weapon?

Grey Havoc

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Via our favourite Master of Felines:
It's not a combination gun. And that's not the only interesting thing about it. I have a few suspicions about this weapon, but for the moment that's all they are.
 

riggerrob

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That bull pup shotgun looks like a one-off prototype.

Issue aircrew survival rifles are more likely to have two barrels in different calibres.
For example the USAF M6 survival title has two barrels in .22 Hornet and .410 shotgun. It folds in half so it can be packed into a seat cushion survival kit along with food, water, sleeping bag, tools, inflatable raft, etc.The .22 Hornet is barrel for shooting small animals, scaring off bears and chasing off enemy infantry who are searching for downed aircrew.
The .410 shotgun is for killing birds and snakes. Extra ammo is stowed in the hollow butt stock.This was based on long-range, Cold War flights over Siberia and Northern Canada where a pilot might have to hunt for food for a week or more before rescuers find him.

In this century, aircrew tend to use shorter versions of infantry assault rifles. During fighting in Afghanistan British helicopter pilots were issued short barrelled versions of the infantry standard 5.56 mm SA 80 bull pup rifle. The short barrel and bull pup configuration made it easier to stow in cramped, cluttered cockpits.
The USAF recently announced that it will issue a variation on the 5.56 mm AR-15, M-16, M-4 carbine to aircrew. They have concluded that Taliban infantry are the biggest threat and you had better have enough fire-power to keep their heads down while you run for cover.
 
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riggerrob

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Thanks for that link Cluttonfred,

I know that take-down AR-15 rifles are popular with American wannabee warriors, but I question their usefulness in the hands of a battered, bruised, cold, wet, disorientated pilot who narrowly survived being shot down. Re-assembling a rifle is a complex process that must be practiced on a regular basis.
In a perfect world, the barrel and receiver would be hinged together for a quick, night-time, unfold and twist together process.
At a minimum, I would recommend some sort of loose link that would keep the barrel and receiver in loose formation to A: prevent them from getting lost and B: to simplify the process of alignment and assembly.
 

TomS

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Thanks for that link Cluttonfred,

I know that take-down AR-15 rifles are popular with American wannabee warriors, but I question their usefulness in the hands of a battered, bruised, cold, wet, disorientated pilot who narrowly survived being shot down. Re-assembling a rifle is a complex process that must be practiced on a regular basis.
In a perfect world, the barrel and receiver would be hinged together for a quick, night-time, unfold and twist together process.
At a minimum, I would recommend some sort of loose link that would keep the barrel and receiver in loose formation to A: prevent them from getting lost and B: to simplify the process of alignment and assembly.

The QRB selected here seems very simple indeed -- the barrel assembly slides into the receiver with a pin for alignment and two latches on the receiver fold forward to lock the barrel assembly in place. I would worry a bit about the possibility of getting gunk in the chamber due to the open front of the receiver, but otherwise it appears nearly idiot proof.
 

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From that same link, here's a video demonstration of the same quick-release barrel system. The USAF version would also require folding down the pistol grip and extending the stock. I understand Rob's point but I suspect the benefit to the aircrew and armorers of using a weapon so similar to the familiar M-16/M-4 family is worth the few extra seconds to assemble the rifle. It's certainly a far more useful weapon than a pistol.

 

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And that's not the only interesting thing about it.

A pity that it is a virtually complete mystery. I for one would love to know how it holds up to a few thousand shots of buckshot. I imagine a deer slug would do it no end of no good, but I do wonder if lead shot will leave it undamaged. And if so, it's a damn clever solution to the issue.

Best way to find out who was responsible for it: analyze the design, copy it, market it and make a bucket of cash from the design. If anything will bring the designer or heirs out of the woodwork...
 

riggerrob

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Dear Cluttonfred,
Military pilots have been issued a variety of small pistols that fit better in cramped cockpits.

The Soviet Stechkin APS was issued to Soviet pilots and Kosmonauts for a while. It was chambered in the usual 9 x !8 or 9 x 19 ammo, but featured a wooden holster that doubled as a shoulder stock. The shoulder stock was similar to that issued with Mauser 9 or Inglis Browning High-Powers.
More amusing was a Stechkin variant that substituted a Woodsmans Pal edged tool substituted for the shoulder stock.
 

klem

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During World War II an English Special Pistol intrigued the Germans, so an RLM leaflet was distributed to Heimatflak units to draw attention to the risks involved in capturing the crews of downed British aircraft. However the Germans did not know whether it was special forces equipment or a mass-produced device and was now part of the normal equipment of aircraft crews. The illustrations show a pistol found on an English paratrooper who was injured in Denmark. The pistol, an American Colt, caliber .320 (cal. 7.65 mm,), with 7 cartridges, attached to a belt and worn under the airman's suit. The wearer can shoot in any position, especially with their hands raised, by means of a remote release control cable like that used for cameras. But ultimately this device was part of a piece of equipment OSS. (Waffen-Revue n°14 -1974 and n° 29-1978)-(Melton, H. Keith: OSS special weapons & equipment: spy devices of W.W. II).
 

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riggerrob

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That
English Special Pistol looks bespoke for spies, but impractical for pilots.
Pilots tend to wear parachute harnesses pulled tight around their iliac crest and hip joints.
 

Ravinoff

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Dear Cluttonfred,
Military pilots have been issued a variety of small pistols that fit better in cramped cockpits.

The Soviet Stechkin APS was issued to Soviet pilots and Kosmonauts for a while. It was chambered in the usual 9 x !8 or 9 x 19 ammo, but featured a wooden holster that doubled as a shoulder stock. The shoulder stock was similar to that issued with Mauser 9 or Inglis Browning High-Powers.
More amusing was a Stechkin variant that substituted a Woodsmans Pal edged tool substituted for the shoulder stock.
Don't think that was the APS. I believe you're talking about the TP-82 survival gun that was used on the Soyuz capsules. Tri-barrel with one 5.45x39 and two firing a specially-made 12.5x70 shotshell (which comes out to 40-gauge), with a beefy e-tool/machete similar to a Woodsman's Pal for the stock. Was developed after an incident where the Voskhod 2 capsule (who were returning from the first-ever spacewalk) landed about 250 miles from the intended drop point, in the back-end of nowhere and ended up stranded for two rather chilly nights in the taiga. The Voskhod kit had a Makarov and a supply of ammo, but understandably the cosmonauts weren't too confident about potentially using it on the wolves and bears found in the area, and once they were recovered Alexi Leonov suggested developing something with a bit more utility.

TP-82+(2).jpg 5f9011ee15e9f91ee7278433.jpg

A similar design called the TOZ-81 was also tested, but lacked the versatility of the TP-82 as it was a five-shot double-action revolver that required switching the barrel (and presumably cylinder) to go from 5.45mm to .410-bore. It also had a much weirder way of integrating a blade, though on the flipside there was a radio beacon in its stock. There are some low-quality pictures of it around, but for simplicity I'm just going to post a render of it.

vitaly-kuznetsov-render-3-e2.jpg
 

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