“Oplot” and three barrels
– In 2014, the militias armed themselves with sticks, hunting rifles, converted into combat traumatic pistols. Now the situation has radically changed, says Alexander Konorev, a Donetsk gunsmith, chairman of the board of directors of the State Innovation Company engaged in the production of weapons.
Alexander Konorev, who is already called the Donetsk Kalashnikov, knows what he is talking about, since he himself is a weapons developer, on which it is not a shame to write “made in the DNR.” It was he who created the Oplot pistol, which has already become legendary, and the Donetsk resident made the necessary drawings and calculations in a matter of hours.
I made drawings, drew my pension and bought suitable metal with this money. I machined the details, and a month and a half later the gun was ready.
The Republic needed good weapons, and there was simply no time for long preparation. Also, my interlocutor had a good experience. Even in his youth, on a challenge, he independently made a pistol, which misled the experts: when comparing, they considered Konorev’s work to be a factory version, and a pistol produced at the factory was handicraft. . But in the Donbass a more serious task had to be solved.
– At two in the morning I took a pencil, put a kettle on, turned on the TV without sound, sat in the kitchen and began to draw. In four hours I drew a sketch, made the necessary calculations. Then he made drawings, took off his pension, and bought suitable metal with this money. We had suitable machines, I made parts for them, and in a month and a half the weapon was ready. They immediately shot him and examined him. Everything worked as it should. I called the weapon “Oplot”, – says Alexander Konorev.
A feature of the Donetsk “Oplot” is the possibility of using three interchangeable barrels. In conditions of ammunition shortage, this was especially valuable. Also, the barrels of the 9mm PM cartridge, 9mm Luger cartridge and 7.62mm TT cartridge changed quite quickly.
Oplot, by the way, was highly appreciated by the first head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko.
The “RG” correspondent also had to hear positive reviews from the military about this weapon. As its advantages, in particular, a large magazine capacity and firing accuracy were called. And later Oplot-2 appeared, however, so far in single copies.
Large “separatist” caliber
– We also launched our 82mm and 60mm mortars. We developed our own mine, fuse and ejector cartridge for it. And our silent mortar, by the way, works no worse than the Polish ones, – notes the Donetsk gunsmith.
The mortar, by the way, only at first glance may seem like an easy weapon to make. The apparent simplicity – the barrel-tube, the base plate and the legs – is deceptive. For a weapon to be effective, not only an accurate aiming mechanism is required, but also the calculations of the designers, an established technological process and high-quality steel.
Oleksandr Konorev recalls the infamous Ukrainian 120mm “Hammer” mortar, which, due to defects, often exploded during training and live fire, maiming and killing soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
We pass into one of the offices, where there is some kind of small mortar, developed at the DPR. With the help of an ejector cartridge, he launches an F-1 grenade at 500 meters.
– The delay fuse, however, we replaced it on grenades. Now it is designed not for 3-4 seconds, but for 8-10, so that the grenade does not explode in flight. During the tests, the optimal burning time was established. You can now throw grenades at enemy positions from a long distance. The grenade falls, an explosion occurs. The soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine begin shooting in the bushes, thinking that someone is hiding nearby, at a distance of a grenade throw. You can also shoot smoke bombs at 400 meters. It helps a lot in the “front” – you can attack or change position under cover of smoke, says Alexander Konorev.
Donetsk designers also developed a power supply system for machine guns from a satchel worn behind the back. They show me another curious set: locally produced mufflers.
– Here is a silencer for PM, here – for PC and RPK. These are silencers for 5.45 caliber. This is at 7.62, – Alexander Konorev orders the cylinders. – The mufflers are made of a seamless tube of special steel so that they do not break. We manufacture silencers for both SVD and mosquitoes. There are those that are not screwed to the barrel, but are held in place with a nut. And, as the fighters note, our mufflers muffle the sound even better than foreign ones. We also make hangers for launching ammunition from quadcopters and special adapters that allow you to fire 82mm mines from RPGs. And from “VOG-17” we make hand grenades. They turn out to be compact, instead of one ordinary grenade, you can take three Vog grenades, and the effect of the explosion is no worse.
The “Donchanka” and “Separatist” large-caliber rifles produced by the DNR also turned out to be a formidable weapon. 14.5 and 22 mm calibers allow you to catch enemy snipers, destroy light armored vehicles and, as DNR fighters say, “dismantle” concrete blocks from enemy dugouts.
By the way, the Donetsk gunsmiths listen to all the comments and recommendations of the fighters and, if necessary, are ready to improve their developments. For example, at the request of the military, they made a smoother descent with rifles.
MLRS “Snezhinka” and “Cheburashka” of local production gained fame in the Donbass and beyond.
– The enemy is afraid of our MLRS. The same “Cheburashki” delivered such a powerful blow that the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at first claimed that Russia had brought and was testing a new unknown and terrible weapon in the Donbass, smiles Alexander Konorev. – But the fact is that the caliber of our “Cheburashka” is 217 mm. For comparison: the caliber of “Grad” is 122 mm.
However, the DPR also produces highly mobile, lightweight missile launchers, similar to those used during the Vietnam War. Such one-, two-, three- or four-barrel installations were called “Partizan”.
– Fires “Partizan” “Grad” projectiles. It can, for example, be put on a trailer or dragged into position manually on wheels, explains the Donetsk gunsmith.
He recalls that at first, local craftsmen strengthened Gradov shells by fitting them with specially prepared gas cylinders filled with TNT. They shot them from the boxes on the goniometer. Now even remote-controlled combat modules are being produced in the DPR.
– They are especially good in defensive battles. You can put several of these modules in the trenches, install machine guns on them and cover the selected sector so that the enemy does not come close. It can fire single shots and bursts, and the gunner will control the module from a safe distance of 150 to 200 meters. This will save people, which is very important now, the gunsmith emphasizes.
Also, together with their Rostov colleagues, Donetsk residents began to develop their own combat drones, including helicopters and kamikaze planes that are capable of carrying half a dozen mines.
As practice has shown, the creators of such weapons, working in the immediate vicinity of the contact line, have learned to quickly respond to the requests of the military, which is involved in real hostilities. And with the receipt of investments, the Donetsk gunsmiths will significantly strengthen the country’s military-industrial complex.