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If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, the Russian TP-82 is a survival firearm designed by The People’s Committee on What Russian Cosmonauts Should Carry If We Can’t Find Them in Siberia. Comrade. Wikipedia describes the beast: “The upper two smoothbore barrels use 12.5×70 mm ammunition, or approximately 40 gauge and the lower rifled barrel uses 5.45 mm caliber ammunition. The pistol can be used for hunting, to defend against predators and for visible and audible distress signals. The detachable buttstock is also a machete that comes with a canvas sheath.” Get this: the Ruskies gave this to their space guys and gals from 1986 to 2006, only abandoning the firearm when . . .

the remaining ammo became “unstable.” Speaking of unstable, anyone who thinks a multiple caliber handgun is the best option for wilderness survival needs their head examined. You can debate all you like about what would be appropriate, but this? Nyet.

That said, can there be a more collectible firearm? A strictly limited edition weird ass gun in a bespoke caliber that’s been in space? With Russians? There are all sorts of research questions that need answering, like how many guns were produced, who produced them and how many missions had them. has some info on the weapon’s testing (Google translation):

The complex was thoroughly tested in various climatic zones of the country, which confirmed its high reliability and efficiency in extreme conditions. In the process of testing were extracted various kinds of animals and birds. Of the rifled barrel successfully were shot elk, wild boar, ibex, gazelles, saiga antelope, foxes, at ranges up to 200 m, with the weight of animals up to 200 kg. Stem extracted from smooth hares, foxes, geese, ducks, partridges, turtle doves, pheasants, gulls.

These things have got to be worth a fortune. Meanwhile, anyone know what type of automatic pistol the Russians take with them these days? And why in the world hasn’t someone at Ruger or Smith jumped on this? The marketing opportunities are literally out of this world. Not that there are customers on nearby planets, but you know what I mean.

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  1. What, no phaser? Seriously, Randall made our early astronauts a cool survival knife, at least.

  2. Actually, it’s a CAMEL that’s a “horse designed by committee.” Which would be worse, I think. Except on Wednesday. (Hump day.) Or something.

  3. They must have some pretty small elk in Russia, if they drop from a 5.45mm pistol. I know my AK74 would kill an elk…eventually. It might need more than one 30-round magazine to do it quickly, though.

    • You should hook up with the Elks around here. They have their own club with 2-4-1 drinks on Fridays. And I’d have no trouble dropping any of them with a 5.45, although I don’t know why I would since most of them look like they’re already well on their way to the glue factory with no help from me.

  4. You have to love the steampunk Soviet space program. I have a Russian spectrometer that is the most wonderful thing you ever saw. Built like tractor.

  5. >Not that there are customers on nearby planets, but you know what I mean.

    One day we’ll seed the solar system (terraforming or pantropy, take your pick) , and there will be plenty of would-be end users to sell firearms to.

    To paraphrase Bradbury – we won’t find Martians, we’ll become them.

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