Russian less-lethal weapon proves surprisingly dangerous


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Well-Armed Lamb
October 12, 2007, 12:05 AM
Interesting article from the cheerfully reprehensible THE EXILE, a proudly scurrilous English-language newspaper for expats in Russia. Apparently, a lot of shootings in Russia involve a four-barrelled "less lethal" handgun-type weapon, the PMB-4M. In Russia, you can't legally carry a handgun, and I'm not sure if you're even allowed to buy one. You can buy a shotgun or rifle if you jump through the hoops; an article at http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20050811/41139012.html gives one Russian journalist's couple-of-years-old personal account of the gun-buying process there. To get around these restrictions, THE EXILE tells us -- article reproduced below, with pictures attached; the original is at http://www.exile.ru/blog/detail.php?BLOG_ID=13242 -- folks buy and carry the PMB-4M, which is one of the ugliest suckers I've ever seen.

OTOH, you can apparently buy flash-bangs for it in any Russian gun store. I kind of want one now.


"Road Rage Shooting: An Update"
by Yasha Levine & Mark Ames
posted October 9, 2007

You might remember yesterday's post on The eXile Blog about a road rage shooting that took place outside a synagogue right next to Ames' apartment. Three pedestrians were shot as a result of a conflict between them and two men driving a Lada (although a woman who works at a corner pharmacy next to the shooting told Ames she thought it was a typical "razborka," or "settling of accounts"). No one was killed, but two of the victims were wounded seriously enough to require hospitalization. At the time of the shooting, it wasn't clear what type of handgun the two Lada goons used.

We now learned that gun used was an OSA-type gun (in Russian the acronym decodes to self defense weapon) model name PMB-4M, a powerful Russian-made less-than-lethal handgun. This weird-looking 4-barrel gun wouldn't look out of place in the 18th century world of pirates and duels, but relies on some serious modern technology. It was designed in the mid-1990s for close-range personal protection for the ordinary citizen and uses a computer chip to figure out which chamber is empty to prevent misfires.

Under current Russian law, people are not allowed to carry firearms, although rifles and shotguns used for hunting are legal, provided the buyer has a license and passes a psychological exam. The OSA sidesteps this technicality by billing itself as a non-lethal weapon, a sort of beefed up BB gun. But BB gun it ain't. The OSA is a bonafide kinetic energy weapon that can cause some real damage at close range. Although it doesn't shoot metal-tipped bullets, it shoots just about anything else: rubber bullets, flares, and small shock grenades (which are capable of blinding and rendering an entire room of individuals unconscious). Any Russian citizen can buy one.

Searching around on the Russian web, we weren't surprised to find out that the OSA is commonly used in all sorts of random shootings. Coincidentally, according to a Russian gun store, the OSA is one of their most popular items.

As we were writing this post we found out that earlier today, RBK, a business daily, wrote about a regional effort on the part of Tatarstan's Duma to outlaw exactly these types of weapons on a national level. The chinovniki behind the initiative complained about a spike in crimes committed with these easily-accessible weapons.

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CK
October 12, 2007, 12:46 AM
I want one. Can I buy them in Southeast Asia?? hehe

cwmcgu2
October 12, 2007, 01:15 AM
Oooooooooo, I want one with the shock grenades. It would be great for home defense. With a handgun mounted with a flashlight in one hand and the PMB-4M in the other you are set to go. Think about it, pop one of these shock grenades into the room of your house where you hear the noise coming from; then enter and make a "shoot-don't shoot" decision against a stunned intruder. Even if just for a second or two, the critical addition of time could prevent a homeowner from taking an impulsive shot at a non-threatening invader (think delinquent unarmed teenage son of the guy next door). The additional time would also allow a homeowner the chance to overwhelm several armed intruders who prior to the shock grenade had the tactical advantage.

Now I haven't taken any type of handgun/tactical/home-defense training so don't jump on me if I'm wrong here, I'm just postulating a possible practical application I saw for the lil gadget. Also, I am well aware that such a device would not now, nor in the near future ever be allowed for sale on the civilian market here in the US.

frankcostanza
October 12, 2007, 01:36 AM
it looks like a pistol version of arnold's rocket launcher in Commando. i want one

max popenker
October 12, 2007, 03:00 AM
Well, i do carry one like that for past 2 years.
Weird it is, powerful - hardly. It fires rubber slug of about 180 grains in weight, ~ .60 caliber, for about 50 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.
At point blank range and with light clothing, it may cause a broken rib or jaw, or other such impact damage, but with heavy winter clothing it effectiveness degrades severely.

as for flash-bang, it does work to some extent. It gives a muzzle blast couple of feet long, and sounds like magnum-caliber rifle or something like that.
At night, when fired into the face of attacker, it will bling him / them for good several minutes, providing escape time. It also beats the sh*t out of roaming dog packs.

The problem with this weapon (and with any other less-lethal weapon IMO) is that people tend to consider them as toys, or at least non-life-treathing devices, which results in irrseponsible use (use of knuckles to settle some personal disputes here, especially among youngers, is almost "socially acceptable", and less-lethal weapons often are considered just as long-range kickers, not real guns). Other problem is that police will often ingnore any minor damage to people and refuse to open the investigation case :(

UPD some pics of my "gun" (sorry for quality, used my cameraphone)
http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/4567/dsc00010pb5.th.jpg (http://img300.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00010pb5.jpg) http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/8351/dsc00013tr4.th.jpg (http://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00013tr4.jpg) http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/4284/dsc00011ye7.th.jpg (http://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00011ye7.jpg) http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/4438/dsc00012sw0.th.jpg (http://img522.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00012sw0.jpg)

O.F.Fascist
October 12, 2007, 03:15 AM
Thats kind of neat.

Odd Job
October 12, 2007, 03:21 AM
Max, how does the fire selection/cartridge selection work? Is it sequential or can you discharge more than one at a time?

jojosdad
October 12, 2007, 03:30 AM
Man - that's uglier than a mud fence, but I want one anyway.

max popenker
October 12, 2007, 03:40 AM
Max, how does the fire selection/cartridge selection work?
The thing is electrically ignited; there are versions with Lithium battery or trigger-operated impulse generator (like mine). It also has a "smart" chip that runs low-voltage test through all chambers each time trigger is pulled to find the first loaded one, and fires it. I think it could be "hacked" to fire in salvos but see no reason for that.
It also has a built-in laser pointer (with separate battery in the butt), which is useful due to almost non-existant sights; it also permits more or less accurate hip-firing.

VirgilCaine
October 12, 2007, 04:24 AM
Sounds like a useful little device. Better than nothing. Shame it's battery-powered though.

Standing Wolf
October 12, 2007, 04:30 AM
I think I'll stick with magnum revolvers, thanks all the same, if only because I'd be embarrassed to show a criminal such a nekulturny device.

tinygnat219
October 12, 2007, 07:20 AM
AH HA! I see that the Russians have FINALLY upgraded the 1895 Nagant Revolver. :neener:

MilsurpShooter
October 12, 2007, 08:33 AM
Reminds me of Lee van Cleefs gun from Sabata, the one with the flip down hand grip lol

Titan6
October 12, 2007, 09:02 AM
I think under old communist rule that would have been called a Soviet People's Glock maybe?

romma
October 12, 2007, 09:12 AM
Makes the Glock platform look like Ms. America... Seriously, there is a certain "pug like" charm about them....

armoredman
October 12, 2007, 09:28 AM
Can we get this thing imported? Call EAA!

Stephen21B
October 12, 2007, 09:43 AM
I want one too, that would go great with my Makarovs

FuzzyBunny
October 12, 2007, 10:02 AM
How much do these cost?

Do they do internet orders?

Just wondering.
Looks easy enough to build.

alucard0822
October 12, 2007, 10:37 AM
WOW, the media even treats it like some evil assault weapon, looks like a pirate duelling pistol, fires grenades that will knock an entire room of people unconcious(guess you have to fire it INTO a room to avoid being knocked out yourself), anyone can buy one, the duma is trying to ban them, even the news isn't surprised they are used in all sorts of random shootings:D

I have to have one, its like a hand held 4th of july celebration.

fletcher
October 12, 2007, 10:41 AM
shock grenades (which are capable of blinding and rendering an entire room of individuals unconscious).

WTB?

chris in va
October 12, 2007, 11:18 AM
Hmm. Now do people in Russia have access to pepper spray, or is this their version of it? Are you allowed to 'open carry' the device anywhere?

At night, when fired into the face of attacker, it will bling him

I'm sorry, I know it was a typo but thought that was extremely funny...:D Mental picture of Borat getting shot with one, turning into Ali G.

romma
October 12, 2007, 11:26 AM
We need these! They are useful for militia 2nd ammendment purposes. ;)

jefnvk
October 12, 2007, 11:47 AM
Flashbangs?!

Count me in!

AJ Dual
October 12, 2007, 12:27 PM
Reminds me of the four-barrel COP derringer. And the opening scene in "Blade Runner" when the android/replicant "Leon" says "Let me tell you about my mother" and blows the "Blade Runner" detective testing him through the wall.

Horsesense
October 12, 2007, 12:40 PM
"It also beats the sh*t out of roaming dog packs."


Sounds like there is a good story behind that comment.

K-Romulus
October 12, 2007, 12:59 PM
Would STILL be banned in Maryland. :mad:

CK
October 12, 2007, 01:18 PM
Max, do you know if they are imported to other country? Or better yet, is it possible to buy this online and send outside Russia?

RevolvingCylinder
October 12, 2007, 01:32 PM
Wow. Russians have more rights to self-defense than some states in the US! In the states in the US that don't allow carry, the carrying of this pistol would be highly illegal.

Well-Armed Lamb
October 12, 2007, 01:55 PM
Well, i do carry one like that for past 2 years.
Weird it is, powerful - hardly. It fires rubber slug of about 180 grains in weight, ~ .60 caliber, for about 50 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.
At point blank range and with light clothing, it may cause a broken rib or jaw, or other such impact damage, but with heavy winter clothing it effectiveness degrades severely.

as for flash-bang, it does work to some extent. It gives a muzzle blast couple of feet long, and sounds like magnum-caliber rifle or something like that.
At night, when fired into the face of attacker, it will bling him / them for good several minutes, providing escape time. It also beats the sh*t out of roaming dog packs.

Neat, Max -- thanks for posting your pics and comments! Very cool to hear from somebody who has actual experience with this thing. Out of curiosity, how much do they cost in Russia? Compared to, say, a Taser?

(Really like your site, BTW.)

Odd Job
October 12, 2007, 02:00 PM
Indeed, thanks for the info, Max it is much appreciated.
I too would like to know the story of Max vs the Hounds!

DavidLee
October 12, 2007, 02:32 PM
Pretty guns..
Ugly guns..
Curious guns..
Guns that don't work but the action "MIGHT" be fixable, and mabey if I can hand carve my own stock out of a 4x8..

ever notice that it doesn't really matter what the gun looks like, all us gun nuts want'em all the same? lol

I wouldn't mind one of them weird lookin' things either, actually...

Soybomb
October 12, 2007, 04:25 PM
Wow. Russians have more rights to self-defense than some states in the US! In the states in the US that don't allow carry, the carrying of this pistol would be highly illegal.
Yeah I'd like to hear a little about carrying in russia in general.

FuzzyBunny
October 12, 2007, 08:11 PM
Is there a group buy in the works?

FB

SaMx
October 12, 2007, 09:19 PM
Heh, now we all want the "gun" that people in Russia carry because they can't carry a real gun.

I shouldn't talk, I want one too. Is there a slimmer version? Those big fat 4 barrels look hard to conceal.

max popenker
October 13, 2007, 05:15 AM
Ok, here we go:
pepper sprays are free to buy for anyone 18+; prices are about $5-10 per can (also available CN and CS sprays)

self-defence guns include gas- and rubber-slug handguns and are regulated as follows: to obtain a buy / carry license you must be 21+, pass medical commission (inc. psyco and drug/alcohol tests) and have no crime record. Once got license through local PD, you can buy a thing, and has to register it at same PD within 10 days after purchase. License must be renewed each 5 years.
What guns are available other than Osa:
2-barreled things firing same electrically-primed ammo, like those:
http://baikalinc.ru/res_ru/0_value_9653_188.jpg
Modified pistols firing 9-10mm rubber balls (construction generally weakened to prohibit conversion for "real" ammo) - those are more seriously-looking but have negligent efficiency in winter time (against perps with heavy clothes)
Most popular is makarov PM version firing 9m rubber balls:
http://baikalinc.ru/res_ru/0_value_5197_188.jpg
Some wise-heads at gov't arms factories also converted old surplus TT and Nagant m1895 to fire same rubber-bullet ammo, but those usually bought as collectibles / plinkers


As for prices, Osa sells here for about $200-250, "condom-firing Makrov" for about $300, Air-Taser for about $1000

The only chance to buy OSA in USA is to get it legally imported through all hops and loops by some gun-selling company. If someonne is really interested, i can get contacts of the manufacturer (it also offers more powerful "police-only" version of OSA firing longer ammo)

MrTuffPaws
October 13, 2007, 03:37 PM
I'm joining the club on "Hey, that's cool and I want one."

Novus Collectus
October 13, 2007, 06:35 PM
Max, what about tourists or non citizen residents getting the license and carrying one? I have a good friend who visits there for about two months out of every year. With the crime in some places I wonder if there is a way she can protect herself with something like one of these.

max popenker
October 14, 2007, 06:31 AM
Novus Collectus, I'm not sure if a non-resident can obtain a license to buy / carry one.
However, he/she always can buy a pepper spray, which is still much better than nothing

Lucky
October 14, 2007, 07:46 AM
Anyone want to bet that Tatarstan's Duma won't be constrained to laws forbidding them to carry weapons?

NonLethal
April 26, 2010, 08:38 AM
Coming soon to America. I am in Russia right now and I have exclusivity rights to bring it to the USA. I will be ready to start selling OSA in 3-4 months. Contact me if you need further information nstrade@live.com

The Bushmaster
April 26, 2010, 09:25 AM
Oh goodie...A four shot flare gun...

I'll let you guys get them. I'll stick with my "More the lethal" .45 ACP...

armoredman
April 26, 2010, 11:04 AM
Might be a good campus carry pistola!

SharpsDressedMan
April 26, 2010, 07:04 PM
Well, it would seem to me that anything titled "less lethal" would imply, "sometimes lethal" or "may be lethal". I would NOT assume that it would be "child safe".........

RevolvingGarbage
April 27, 2010, 06:58 AM
Until they start saying "Phaser" or "Disruptor" on the side, I wont be trusting one.

They do look like fun to mess around with though, especially that makarov...

JShirley
April 27, 2010, 07:02 AM
As The Bushmaster notes, it appears to be a flare gun.

sonier
April 28, 2010, 12:33 AM
I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!! bear gun or pissed at your neighorbor gun flashbang at 3 am sounds awsome!

warnerwh
April 28, 2010, 04:53 PM
I want one too. What will they be classified as here I wonder. It's not a firearm so would there be any more regulation than a flare gun?

wishin
April 28, 2010, 06:27 PM
Put me down for one with a speed loader!:cool:

Novus Collectus
April 28, 2010, 06:50 PM
I want one too. What will they be classified as here I wonder. It's not a firearm so would there be any more regulation than a flare gun?

921 Definitions.
(3) The term "firearm" means (A)
any weapon (including a starter gun)
which will or is designed to or may
readily be converted to expel a projectile
by the action of an explosive; (B)
the frame or receiver of any such
weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm
silencer; or (D) any destructive device.
Such term does not include an
antique firearm.

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