It is fairly well known that special operations troops in the United States have access to a wide range of weapons, even some that are unavailable to other US forces fighting anywhere in the world. Special Operations Forces are, by definition, special and therefore have leeway with their equipment unavailable to the rest of us.
Special operators from other countries often receive the same treatment, including America’s longtime ideological and sometimes physical adversary: Russia. Although a lot can be said about the performance of the Russian military (especially in Ukraine), even during Russia’s darkest hour, its special operators were still very good.
US Special Forces soldiers have worked alongside the Spetsnaz in Bosnia and will testify how good they are. Russian special forces are not only allowed to use a range of weapons, they are apparently allowed to buy their own for counter-terrorism operations, even if they are Western-made. Here are their top three:
Russian Special Ops soldiers love to buy Glocks from Austria because they are as reliable a handgun as a pistol as the AK-47 is as a rifle. Russian-made guns aren’t as well made and aren’t meant to last as long as a Glock. While Russian guns are considerably cheaper, you pay for what you get.
A Russian-made Makarov pistol is only guaranteed to fire more than 5,000 rounds in its lifetime. An Austrian-made Glock 17, on the other hand, will fire up to 300,000 rounds if properly maintained. The difference is crisp and clear. You might pay four times as much for the Glock, but you’ll be using a reliable weapon for much longer.
2. Heckler & Koch MR308
As mentioned earlier, the Kalashnikov family of rifles are reliable and reliable weapons for Russians and Spetsnaz use them in most missions. This does not mean that they exclusively use the AK and its variants. Many Russian soldiers are even heading to the enemy’s AR format in the form of German-made HK MR308s.
The MR308 is a devastatingly accurate weapon with superior mechanics, even among the AK family and especially among other AR rifles. From a distance, the MR308 is the most precise small arm available, once compared to a surgeon’s scalpel. The AK has its uses, but the elite Russian Spetsnaz often need better tools than are provided to the regular soldier.
3. Steyr SSG 69
The Steyr Mannlicher SSG 69 is a standard bolt-action sniper rifle for the Austrian Armed Forces. As far as sniper rifles go, this is the AK of sniper rifles: rugged, reliable, cheaply built, and doesn’t require a lot of preparation and maintenance before going to meet the enemy in battle.
The $5,000 price tag sounds expensive, but it’s actually on the lower end of the spectrum. Compared to the plethora of other sniper rifles available in the world, some as expensive as half a million dollars, the accuracy and reliability of a Steyr SSG along with its affordability, the appeal becomes apparent. At 300 meters, the Steyr SSG 69 is almost unmatched.
Russian arms manufacturers have noticed the use of Western weapons in the Russian armed forces and are working on improvements. Increasing the durability and lifespan of a Russian-made weapon will be key if they ever want to get more Spetsnaz business.