We are three weeks into the war that is arguably the most neer peer conflict so far of the 21st Century, one that take into account the advances brought about by GWOT. GWOT though, was always going to be an insurgent hunt. It was not in either case, Afghanistan or Iraq, anything approaching a peer conflict. Both militaries were drastically overmatched by the US, even had we not progressed past 2001 tech.
Russia and Ukraine are showing a different and very interesting disparity. In this case the “scrappy underdog” of Ukraine is showing up to the fight in a serious way. They’re troops are using tricked out rifles set up for serious work as we define it here in the states. Optics, suppressors, lights, and lasers.
The Russians… not so much. Even troops with AK-12’s are running them slick. There’s a famous picture now of a poor Russian with a Mosin-Nagant, a Mosin. It’s in Brandon’s video, hit play if you haven’t.
But real darling of the small arms eyes has been… a bullpup
The Vulcan and Vulcan-M are colloquially known as the Malyuk, which means “baby”. They’re operational name is Vulcan, a modernized AK series, Ukraine developed domestically, that can run all the modern optics, lights, and lasers. It’s most striking feature is obviously it is one of a few modern bullpups. Ukraine also uses a specialized X95 Tavor.
The bullpup is a controversial rifle type in shooter circles, still. It is either loved, tolerated with respect, or hated with a passion, it isn’t as full spectrum as the AR and AK platforms. When France, one of the most modern militaries, decided to retire the FAMAS for the HK416F it was seen as the end of the bullpup by many, that despite Israel, Australia, Austria, and the UK retaining them. A story went viral several months ago stating the IDF was dropping the Tavor, it wasn’t but anti-bullpupians harolled it as another sign that the reverse rifle they so despise was continuing its slow demise.
By contrast, one of the finalists for the NGSW (though not the crowd favorite), is a bullpup.
The baby name, by best guess, is from its prototype phase and it just stuck.
The rifle itself internally is all AK74 or AK47 by caliber, I believe there is a 5.56 too.
What I don’t know, especially on the most modern variants, is what the controls do specifically. The charging handle and ejection port are obvious, as is the trigger. The suppressor interface and rail interfaces are equally self explanatory. Where it gets murky is in the magazine interface controls and the safety/fire control selectors.
The example above, which looks to match reddit image above that, is a 5.45 that takes AK74 magazines. What isn’t clear is how they are accomplishing rock-in or have converted these to a variant of straight pull. It is equally unclear if the switch at the rear is a safety and fire selector, or just a fire selector between semi and full and the button further up is the safety, push-thru style like the AUG. I’m also not sure what the trigger behind the trigger is, but my gut is telling me that is the magazine release.
It’s cool. It’s a modern bullpup on a modern battlefield. And the Ukrainian SF boys are using it to collect all the AK-12’s.