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The GM-94 in Crimea

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There have been several images passed around the net and social media lately showing armed personnel in civilian attire in Crimea. One of the telltale weapons used by these individuals, widely accepted to be Russian troops or PMCs in their employ, is the GM-94.

The GM-94 is a manual action grenade launcher (it racks like a pump shotgun) chambered for a 43mm grenade cartridge available in High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Fragmentary (HE-FRAG), smoke, illume (illumination rounds) and probably “less lethal” munitions. Range is approximately 300m. The GM-94 has a 3-round tubular magazine, double action type trigger, manual safety and folding shoulder stock. It was purportedly designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau for use by SOF units, the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and FSB (Federal Security Service).

GM-94 Grenade Launcher2

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GM-94 Grenade Launcher3

GM-94 Grenade Launcher

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A description of the GM-94 from the excellent website, World Guns.


Caliber: 43mm
Type: multi-shot, manually reloading, cartridge firing
Overall length: 810 mm (540mm with shoulder stock folded)
Weight: 4.8 kg unloaded
Effective range: up to 300 m
Magazine capacity: 3 rounds

GM-94 grenade launcher is a relatively recent development of famous Rusian KBP design bureau, located in the city of Tula. It is intended mostly for various Spetsnaz elements of Russian army, FSB (Federal Security service) and MVD (Internal Affairs Ministry). GM-94 is a weapon for urban warfare – its main goal is to provide troops with short and very short range weapon firing high explosive and non-lethal (tear gas) shells.It uses proprietary 43mm ammunition, available in several loadings, with non-fragmenting HE (FAE / thermobaric) warhead, less-lethal (tear gas canister or rubber slug), and several others. The key feature of HE warhead is that it is made mostly of plastic, and its primary kill effect is achieved by the blast (high temperature and high pressure). Kill radius is said to be about 3 meters, while safe standoff (minimal range of fire) range is only few meters more. Therefore,such ammunition can be safely used during room-to-room searches from very short range, without the danger of hitting the operator or his teammates with occasional fragments.

GM-94 is manually operated, magazine fed weapon. Tubular magazine holds three rounds and is located above the barrel. Magazine loading gate is located at the top of the receiver. The sliding, rifled barrel is located below the receiver. Breech of the weapon is stationary, and for reloading barrel is moved forward (to eject spent case), then moved rearward to load fresh round from magazine above. Barrel is enclosed into polymer heat shield / handguard. GM-94 is fitted with double-action trigger and manual safety. Sights are of open type, with flip-up rear. Shoulder stock is made from steel tube and is fitted with rubber buttpad. For more compact transportation and storage shoulder stock can be folded up and forward. In emergency situations GM-94 can be fired with shoulder stock folded, from off-hand position. Alternatively, GM-94 can be supplied with fixed, skeleton type buttstock made of plastic.

43mm VGM-93 grenade weights about 250 gram and contains up to 160 gram of thermobaric explosive mixture. Muzzle velocity is about 85 m/s. With direct hit,it can destroy armor plates up to 8mm (~1/3 of an inch) thick.

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