Words and pics: Kirill
In this guide I’ll walk readers through the equipment currently in use with the Russian Naval Infantry – Morskaya Pekhota.
The guide is written as a collaboration between the members of Truppa Krasnyj Banner.
It will serve as a primer for a forthcoming interview with the team on The Reptile House Blog.
The clothing-line in use by the Russian MOD is called VKBO (ВКБО), and contains everything from undergarments to headwear.
The first part of this kit guide will therefore be about VKBO, whilst the next part is about the kit from the RATNIK-suite, which includes kit like helmet, armour, etc.
There are two versions of the official field cap, produced by BTK. To keep it simple, I’ll call them BTK and BTK New Gen. In addition, you can often see a version made by BARS in use. Nice head garment for patrolling duty if you don’t want to use a helmet. It can also be worn under a helmet.
Ushanka is a warm hat used mainly for guard duty. Perfect to wear if you are static on a cold day. When the flaps are down, there are ports which carry sound, so you can still hear what’s going on around you.
You’ll also sometimes see other types of headware, primarily Chechenka (knit cap) or various patrol caps. None of these are included in the VKBO-set, and therefore I will not go into detail.
Chechenka and patrol caps are made by a wide variety of producers, and are used in a number of patterns.
The issued neck gaiter is something you rarely see in use, most likely because of the widespread use of balaclavas. For airsoft, it can be practical on a cold and windy day, as a balaclava isn’t always that compatible with eyepro.
When it comes to actual clothing, there is a lot to choose from. The Russian clothing suite is, as mentioned, named VKBO (ВКБО), and compromises of 8 layers: everything from undergarments, to cold weather sets made with Siberian winters in mind.
In Truppa Krasnyj Banner, we have selected the 5th layer, which is a wind and water resistant uniform. It’s thin enough to be worn comfortably in the summer, while it’s roomy enough to hold several layers underneath. Some of us have also chosen to buy the 8th layer, which is made to be able to be worn in temperatures as low as -40c.
There is also the regular uniform, which is a good choice. It’s a plain, regular field uniform – based on a ACU-cut.
Another uniform often used, is the 6sh122. It’s a cover uniform, intended to be used over a regular field uniform. It’s reversible, and has an autumn variation of EMR camo on one side, and some kind of dry vegetation variation on the other.
This is one of the most common uniforms seen presently. It also gives you a nice contrast to the rest of your kit!
This isn’t really a part of VKBO, but is rather seen as PPE and goes in the RATNIK-suite.
If you are REALLY cool, you’ll buy this beauty – the official MOD tracksuit:
There are two kinds of boots issued. One for use in the dry and hot months, and one for cold and inhumane weather. Usually called VKBO summer boots, and VKBO winter boots.
The summer version is a light, ventilated field boot and exists in both black and tan-ish. The winter one is a gore tex boot. There is also a desert variant of the summer boot, not pictured here. It has been seen a lot in the Syrian operations.
There are three pairs of gloves issued. Two pairs for warmth, part of VKBO. And one pair for protection, and therefore a part of RATNIK.
Firstly, we have a pair in some sort of wool mix. They are really friction free, so it’s a pain to manipulate your rifle. Next is the classic mittens, to protect your hands from the wind and snow.
This pair sports the glorious EMR pattern, which we are quite fond of.
The best gloves are those that are a part of RATNIK. Gloves in real fake leather, with padding where padding is necessary. Also, there are some gloves in use that are privately bough. SPLAV gloves are often used.
The helmet used by the front-line troops is called 6b47. It’s a light, modern, aramid helmet. On its front, there is a mount for NVGs, and on the right side, there is a 21mm rail where you can mount stuff as you please. If you buy a real helmet from a good seller, you’ll get the helmet and all the accessories – a bag, EMR cover, white cover, white balaclava, green balaclava and a green “summer” balaclava.
The only kind of accessory you’ll see in use, is a helmet flashlight called FSS-014. The FSS-014 is a shameless copy of the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact. It’s got a mounting bracket, so you can detach the light at your own discretion. Comes in 2 colours, both are seen in use in the woods and Syria.
Googles are also issued, they’re called 6b50 and are ballistic.
The plate carrier used by the front-line troops, and destined for widespread issue, is called 6b45 and is made by Techinkom (ТEХИНКОМ). It uses GRANIT-plates.
It’s a solid, heavy duty carrier, covered with UMBTS (russian MOLLE).
It’s usually used slick, without any pouches mounted on it, but with a 6SH117 over it (look further down). You’ll also see units using it with pouches mounted on the plate carrier. Neither is wrong for impressions, although carrier with 117 is most common.
Load Bearing Vest
The latest version of LBV is the 6sh117. It has document pouches on the inside, and special room for a hydro pouch on the back. Hydro pouches aren’t currently issued, or really seen in use.
If you buy a complete kit, you’ll get the vest, a standard set of pouches, a small buttpack and a small 25l patrol backpack.
The pouches are as follows:
2x double AK mag
2x double AK mag with ROP-flare holder
4x grenade pouch
2x small utility pouches
1x radio pouch
1x flask pouch
From time to time, you’ll also find prebuilt LBVs for both PK and SVD/VSS. The main difference is that the four AK pouches are replaced by either two PK-pouches, or four double SVD pouches.
If you buy the complete package, you’ll also get a small 25l backpack. 3 smallish waterproof bags come with the pack as well.
Since we’re talking about modern Russian Naval Infantry, I’ll jump over AKM/AKMS and older versions of the AK-74. They still appear, but usually only among recruits and rear echelon troops. Airsofters are always on the front lines, so:
This is the currently used version of the classic Kalashnikov. It’s a modernized version (hence the M) of the classic AK74-AKS-74, and went into full scale production in 1991. It has a folding stock and a dovetail mount for optics. The fire selector goes from safe, via full auto, to semi.
For people interested in russian kit, AK-74M is the gun they should buy, as it’s virtually universally used by the Russians.
SVD and SVD-S
SVD and the modernized SVD-S, are the issued marksman rifles of the Russian infantry. There is also a modernized variant called SVDM, which has a picatinny rail on the dust cover.
The real variant has a 10 round magazine, and only shoots semi automatic.
PKM and PKP
PKP, and the predecessor PKM, are the Russian armed forces primary GPMG. PKP is somewhat shorter, and lighter than the PKM. Both see regular use.
There are 3 types of GLs in widespread use;
- GP-25, used since 1978 and is the first iteration of GL. Still the most widespread. Has its sights on the left side.
- GP-30, used since 1989. It’s lighter, and has sights on the right side.
- GP-34, the current production version. It’s redesigned to be more reliable, and safer.
Common to all of them, is that they use 40mm grenades (not compatible with the imperial grenades of the evil west), and they all roughly look the same.
There’s a lot of other weapons in use, but these are the most common.
The Russian armed forces in general, doesn’t use a lot of optics on their weapons. However, platoon leaders and above are often issued optics.
There are a wide variety of optics, but I’ll primarily write about the most commonly used by MorPeh 2016+
1p63 is one of the most common red dot sights. There is no magnification on it, and it is regularly referred to as a Russian Aimpoint.
Differing from many other red dot sights, the 1p63 doesn’t use a battery, but is lit by tritium. The tritium has a half-life of about 12 years, and after this, a microfiber will keep the red dot working.
1p63 is mounted on a standard AK dovetail, and sits very tight. It is built to withstand a lot of abuse, and condensation within the unit is very rare.
There are two adjustment screws – up, down; left and right. There is also a contrast switch, to make it easier to find the reticle in conditions with a lot of light.
The mechanism will automatically dim the reticule when you go from a highly lit area, to a low light area.
If 1p63 can be called the Russian Aimpoint, then the 1p78 is the russian ACOG. The scope has a 2.8x magnification and is lit by tritium. During daylight, the reticule may appear black, whilst during the night it will appear orange/green.
This is one of the most used magnified scopes for AK and PKP – and it’s not caliber specific. So you can use it on anything with a dovetail.
This is the currently issued optic for SVD and SVDS. There is also a version for 9x39mm AS VAL and VSS. It has a 4x magnification. The difference between PSO-1-2M and the earlier PSO-1, is that the new one doesn’t have a built in IR-detector.
The main “large” backpack is the 6b38 and 6sh118. They hold about 50-60l, and the main difference is that the 6b38 has a dividable main compartment, and features UMBTS (Russian MOLLE) on the outside, while 6sh118 is covered in “D” rings.
The issued snow camouflage is called 6sh119, and is…. white. It consists of pants and a parka. Both designed to be worn over your uniform, and have openings to allow you to access your uniform pockets.
The Russian infantry has two primary ways of setting up their kit. It depends whether you want to do recon or regular infantry.
- Put on your uniform and shoes depending on weather
- Put on 6b45
- Put on 6sh117 on top of the 6b45
- Put your helmet on, with or without balaclava – dependent on weather
- Pick up your gun
You wanna do fancy recce stuff. What to do?
Well, do the same as above, but just leave the 6b45. Boom, you’re a recon soldier.
This guide might be updated. If we remember to.
Kirill – Truppa Krasnyj Banner