Russian Molot Arms has been exploring the civilian adaptation possibilities of the VSS Vintorez and AS Val for quite a long time and they in fact now offer civilian versions of these guns on the Russian market. Apparently, the company keeps on experimenting with the design of these iconic Russian firearms as they recently introduced a 9mm PCC based on the overall design of Vitorez and AS Val. The new PCC is called Sapsan (Сапсан, means peregrine falcon).
Unlike most of the other PCCs on the Russian market that are simple/direct blowback guns, the Molot Arms Sapsan is a gas-operated locked breech firearm, like its parent guns. The lockup of the action is accomplished by a four-lug rotating bolt. Another difference from most of the other PCCs, that Sapsan also inherited from Val/Vintorez design, is the striker-fired action. The magazine well has been redesigned to allow using 9mm Vityaz/Saiga-9 magazines.
Sapsan PCC is compatible with AR-15 stocks, however, despite the lack of any mechanism inside the attached AR-15 buffer tube, the stock is non-folding. The reason is likely to comply with the Russian law that sets a minimum overall length requirement for civilian guns – that’s why in Russia, many shorter firearms with a folding stock (e.g. civilian version of AK-104) have an additional mechanism that blocks the trigger when the stock is folded making these guns operable only with extended stocks, when the legal length requirement is met. Sapsan PCC also features a new pistol grip, M-LOK handguard and top Picatinny rail. The gun has a 410mm (16-1/8″) free-floated chrome-lined barrel with a threaded muzzle. The overall length is 840mm (33″) and it weighs in at 2,400 grams (5.3 lbs).
The disassembly process of Sapsan PCC is shown in the video below.
There is also a version of this gun called Sapsan-L which is chambered in 9mm Altay. This cartridge is similar to 9x19mm and is compatible with Vityaz/Saiga-9 magazines, however, it is specially designed to be used in firearms with half-rifled or oval-bore barrels which makes it easier for first-time gun buyers to acquire a firearm like this in Russia. For a more detailed description of this cartridge and the reason it was developed, check out our article dedicated to 9mm Altay. Another difference from the 9mm gun is that Sapsan-L has an additional left-side charging handle and a corresponding charging handle slot cut in the left side of the receiver top cover.
Images by Molot Arms, www.molotarms.com