Straight Outta Russia: .50-Cal-Proof Armor and a ‘Hipster’ AK

Kalashnikov's new gun aims to appeal to a generation raised with "gadgets."

Sometimes, the Russian military reminds me of that oddball uncle who comes to the kid’s birthday party wearing camo pants, boots and a cutoff vest with military patches. You’re really not sure if he’s as tough as he looks or as crazy as he sounds, but either way, you make sure to keep an eye on him.

After hearing a couple of recent news stories funneling out of Moscow, I think you’ll get my point.

The first is from state-owned military supplier Rostec. They’re reportedly building a combat suit capable stopping .50 caliber bullets. 

Just to offer some perspective, these rounds are typically fired by an M2 automatic machine gun this is tripod- or vehicle-mounted. The rounds measure about five inches long, and are the one thing most high-end bullet-proof armor still can’t stop. 

However, Rostec is saying that their fourth-generation Sotnik, or "Centurion," battle armor will be ready for the task thanks to a lightweight polyethylene fiber and armor plating that is engineered to withstand a direct shot. 

Just as important as its strength, the armor will also reportedly not restrict movement, and will allow users to comfortably handle the extra weight associated with tactical military gear. 

While most defense authorities are giving the announcement an exaggerated eye roll, the suit is part of a collection of gear that has reportedly been in development for more than a decade. Previous versions could withstand 7.62 mm rifle rounds, and contained a thermal night vision monocle, integrated communication systems and a self-contained heater.

Also coming out this week was news from Russian arms maker Kalashnikov. Most famous for the AK-47 automatic assault rifle carried by nearly every bad guy in 1980s action movies, Kalashnikov is looking to expand their reach with a self-described gadget gun for hipsters.

It’s an interesting description for a semi-automatic, 12-gauge shotgun with embedded electronic capabilities that could include a compass, video camera and computerized firing instructions. According to the company, the gun is meant for users “born with gadgets and cannot imagine themselves without them.” 

The MP-155 Ultima is projected to cost 100,000 rubles, or $1,348.

More in Video