It was a bit of a dreary day when my colleague and cameraman, Phil Junker, and I made our way through customs at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. While the cloudy weather would follow us through most of our trip, it did nothing to dampen our spirits. After dropping our luggage off at our hotel we spent the rest of the day exploring Moscow. Early the next morning, we headed off to the Domodedovo International Airport. Boarding one of the two regular Izhavia flights bound for Izhevsk, we were soon in the air. After a relatively short flight, we arrived in Izhevsk and were greeted by Andrey Vishnyakov (head of Izhmash’s Protocol Department) and Mariya Petrova. I first met Andrey in September 2001. Since then, I have run into him at various shows around the world.
One of many things we did on this trip was to have the opportunity to handle and fire the Vityaz PP 9x19mm Parabellum submachine gun. The Vityaz is basically a Bizon 2 submachine gun chambered in 9x19mm and feeding from conventional 30-round box magazines. The Bizon family of submachine guns was designed by a team headed by Victor Kalashnikov and Alexi Dragunov. While I was impressed by the overall design, I really didn't care for the helical magazine system when I first shot it in 2001. Evidently I wasn’t the only one not impressed by the helical magazine system. When the Bizon 2 was revisited and updated to become the Vityaz PP 9x19mm, the helical magazine system was discarded. Instead the Vityaz feeds from conventional 30-round box magazines.
The heart of the gun is a shortened AKS-74 style sheet metal receiver. To the rear of this is attached a sturdy AKS74 style side-folding stock. Thoughtfully, the Russians have added a 1913 rail to the topcover. On the right side of the receiver are the ejection port, bolt handle and a standard Kalashnikov selector lever. Sights consist of a protected front post adjustable for windage/elevation and a tangent rear. At the muzzle one finds a small slotted muzzle brake. If so desired it can be removed and a sound suppressor mounted.
The Vityaz fires from the closed bolt position to enhance accuracy and increase its hit probability. Operation is straight blowback. The bolt assembly resembles an AK-74 bolt carrier, minus the gas piston. The recoil spring assembly is straight AK-74, as is the entire trigger mechanism. Actually a full 60% of the Vityaz’s parts are fully interchangeable with the AKS-74.
Overall length with the stock unfolded is only about 27 inches and folded it drops to about 18 inches. Weight is just over 6 pounds. I found the Vityaz to be very smooth shooting and easy to control. On semi-automatic the piece is easy to hit with. Practical accuracy is very good with hits in the center of a man sized silhouette easily made at 100 meters. Nudge the selector up to the 'group therapy' position and the fun really begins. Cyclic rate is approximately 700 rpm. Whether firing long bursts or short bursts I was impressed by how controllable the Vityaz is. Hot 7N21 Armor Piercing ammunition proved very smooth shooting on full automatic and the Vityaz proved easy to hit with. Overall it’s a simple, durable, reliable and effective design. If you like this type of content be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram and pick up a copy of our latest issue on the newsstand!