Groza assault rifle, a powerful and versatile firearm with a very unique and distinctive profile. The Groza is nowadays best known for its appearance in very successful videogames such as PUBG and Free Fire, but the reality is that this iconic assault rifle has been in service for decades with the Russian Spetsnaz special forces and has proven to be effective in spite of its design being based on another simple and already obsolete well-known Russian assault rifle. Without further ado, I welcome you to this new La Armería video in which we will discuss 7 things you didn’t know about the Groza assault rifle. Number 7 Starting from 1979 and during the entire Afghan – Soviet war, and even during later conflicts in the rest of the Middle East and in some of the union’s satellite countries, the Soviet Military High Command’s need for creating units of highly trained and specialized troops capable of engaging in dangerous urban battles of high strategic impact grew hand in hand with the evermore frequent occurence of these types of conflicts. The creation and consolidation of the Spetsnaz special forces, even though it was very succesful from the get-go thanks to the very rigorous degree of mental and physical training of these troops, also brought to light one of the most critical and not particularly positive idiosyncrasies of the Soviet Army: Up to that point in time, the simple, cheap and always reliable Kalashnikov assault rifles had satisfied without trouble every combat need of the Soviet infantry. Nevertheless, the states’ anti-terrorist forces’ growing need of using a new, more flexible and adaptable combat platform than a plain AK-47 rifle, required the creation of a weapon that would eventually become the first Soviet assault rifle designed specifically for Special Operations: The now very well known Groza assault rifle. Number 6 The word “groza” means “thunderstorm” in Russian and was picked as a reference to the quick and energetic nature of the operations in which the Spetsnaz special forces were frequently involved. Developed during the 1990´s in the specialized armory of Tula, in Russia, the Groza 1 assault rifle was designed around the 7.62x39mm cartridge also utilized by the AK-47 rifles. However, it was the more widely adopted Groza 4 assault rifle the one that made the switch from the traditional soviet rifle cartridge to the then innovative 9x39mm which was shared with the VSS Vintorez sniper rifle. This new caliber developed only subsonic speeds when fired making it particularly useful for very short range operations in confined spaces since the cartridge’s properties ensured that each shot would not dangerously ricochet after hitting a solid object, thereby avoiding accidental injuries to the operator and his or her teammates. This also restricted the effective range of the rifle to only 200 meters, but made it ideal for urban close and medium-range operations. Number 5 One of the most important inspirations that the Soviet engineers had when designing the Groza assault rifle, according to some military sources of the time, was the high degree of admiration and preference that the Spetsnaz special forces had shown for the, at the time, very innovative bullpup modular designs, such as that of the Steyr Aug rifle. The bullpup’s design main feature consists on the trigger being located in front of the rifle’s magazine, allowing the weapon to have a large barrel while maintaining a relatively short length. As a result, this design is extremely practical for use in close-quarters combat situations requiring the accuracy and stopping power of an assault rifle along with the maneuverability of a compact gun. This was ultimately one of the main combat precepts that helped shape the Groza assault rifle’s design. Number 4 Apart from the bullpup design, the Groza assault rifle was meant to be a highly modular weapon system. Once it had successfully passed some very rigorous testing with the Soviet Army and started being distributed among their special forces, every Groza assault rifle was deployed as part of a flexible assault platform which included: A detachable 40mm grenade launcher, a sound suppressor for stealth operations, a scope for a quick conversion to a medium-range sniper rifle and a detachable foregrip to provide the rifle with more controlability in exchange for a less compact package. This degree of modularity and flexibility on the field were, at the time, only very recently adopted features within the western military doctrine and almost unheard of in the Soviet Army. From that point onwards, the Groza assault rifle marked a historic milestone for the Soviet Army’s weapon design and manufacturing industries. Number 3 Even so, in spite of everything we’ve said up to this point, the innovative Groza assault rifle surprisingly was not built from the ground up to become the revolutionary combat platform the Soviets intended. At its most basic level, the Groza assault rifle is just a heavily modified and adapted AKS-74U rifle. During the first months spent in the Groza’s creation in 1992, designers Valery Telesh and Yuri Lebedev took the most compact soviet assault rifle in existence as their basis for the basic Groza design. In fact, virtually all of the internal components of the AKS-74U assault rifle were left intact in the final design, being Telesh and Lebedev’s priority the adaptation of the platform to a bullpup, modular distribution rather than modifying the basic mechanism and operational nature of the weapon. Number 2 Even though the Groza assault rifle started being mass-produced in 1994, the number of units manufactured was relatively minor, which contributed to the fact that even today it is still a very rare weapon in terms of its availability to users outside of the very select Russian special forces. Its extreme rareness is shared only with other Soviet special weapons of the time such as the Automatic Special Rifle AS Val, which was also designed for its exclusive use by the Soviet special forces and never exported to other countries, nor made available for any civilian market. In other words, it is almost certain that the only way you have of witnessing a Groza assault rifle in action is through any of the several videogames that feature it in their virtual arsenals, or if you happen to have an airsoft replica of it, since even video footage of a real Groza in action is extremely rare and mostly very old and low quality. Number 1 You may have noticed that previously I mentioned only videogames and airsoft replicas as the primary current-day sources that we have to visually identify and familiarize ourselves with the Groza. That is because, as of 2019, said firearm has not appeared in any movie or major motion picture, neither in the western hemisphere in a Hollywood production or even within the Russian cinema industry. Those of us that recognize the Groza assault rifle, albeit vaguely, do so because of games like: PUBG, Free Fire, Survarium, Battlefield 4, Counter Strike (Nexon: Zombies) and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Or, alternatively, because we have stumbled upon it while reading about any of the other more well-known topics related to it. It seems a little bit strange to me that such an important firearm in the eastern history of weapon design doesn’t get the popular attention and recognition that many other less impactful, but more comercially successful rifles do have. 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