About the Film
People & Places
Timelines & Maps
Education Resources
Soviet Small Arms

Rifles | Semi-Automatic and Automatic Rifles | Sniper Rifles
Handguns | Machine Guns And Light Machine Guns


The standard issue rifle of the Red Army was the Mosin Nagant Model 1891/1930 produced by the Tula and Izhevsk weapons factories. The rifle was modeled on the older Imperial Russian rifle, the Mosin Nagant Model of 1891. The Model 1891/1930, known more commonly as the M91/30, featured a five shot magazine and a spike bayonet. It was a capable and robust weapon being very simple in design.

The Soviets also developed a carbine version of the Mosin Nagant, the Model 1938 Carbine – or M38 Carbine. The production of the model began in 1939 and the carbines were issued to artillery, support, transport, or troops with similar duties. Like the M91/30 the carbines were five shot but were not issued with nor made to accept a bayonet. Both the rifle and carbine are in 7.62X54R caliber.

Top: M91-30
Bottom: M38 Carbine
Vic Thomas

Semi-Automatic and Automatic Rifles

The Soviet Union’s Samozaryadnaya Vintovka Tokareva or Tokarev Self Loading Rifle Model 1938 (SVT38) was the first mass issue semi-automatic rifle seen in the world’s armies. The rifle was designed to replace the earlier bolt action Mosin Nagant M91/30 rifle and the Winter War was the battle testing grounds for the newly designed rifle. The rifle features a 10-shot, removable magazine (the Soviet soldier was issued three magazines in the field) and a knife type bayonet. While a well designed and sound weapon there were problems with its use during the Winter War. One of the major problems was the rifle being issued to troops with little or no training in its use. The SVT38 was replaced after the Winter War with an improved version designated the SVT40. There was also a sniper version of this rifle but the total numbers were low. Caliber is 7.62X54R.

The SVT38 Rifle
Vic Thomas

The Automaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova obraztsa 1936 goda or Simonov Automatic Rifle Model 1936 (AVS36) was a fully automatic rifle created by Soviet arms designer Simonov. The rifle had a 15-shot magazine and fired at 800 rounds per minute. The rifle had a number of flaws and saw little issue in the field. Limited sniper versions of these rifles were also issued during the Winter War. Caliber is 7.62X54R.

AVS36 Rifles
Mala-Finland Collection


Sniper Rifles

The Red Army snipers were issued the M91-30 sniper rifle in either the PE or PEM configuration. There were sniper versions of the AVS36 and SVT38 as well but these were in very low numbers. Caliber is 7.62X54R.

Top: PE
Middle: PEM Top Mount
Bottom: Side Mount PEM
Vic Thomas


The Model 1895 Nagant revolver was a mainstay for Soviet officers in the Winter War. Developed for the Imperial Russian Army, these rugged pistols remained in front line service of the Soviet Union throughout World War II. These seven-shot gas seal revolvers were made in both single and double action. Caliber is 7.62 Nagant.

M1895 Nagant
The Lavric Collection


The TT30 and TT33 Tokarev Pistols were designed by Fedor V. Tokarev and these single action 7.62x25mm handguns saw heavy duty in the Red Army. The TT33 was in wide issue as it was an improvement on the earlier TT30 design. The TT33 had an eight-shot magazine and were an excellent handgun.

TT33 Tokarev Pistol
Gunfish - Gunboards.com


Machine Guns And Light Machine Guns

The Model 1910 Maxim was the standard heavy machine gun of the Red Army. The caliber was 7.62X54R and the machine gun is cooled by a water jacket surrounding the barrel. The machine gun was bulky and heavy but it was able to be transported rather quickly on the wheeled mount upon which the Maxim was seated. The Maxim was belt fed and had slow rate of fire; however, the Maxim was a very reliable weapon and had proven itself in conflicts predating World War I.

Maxim 1910
MG34 Dot Com


Degtyarev Model 1927 or DP-27, light machine gun fed by a pan magazine and in the Soviet standard 7.62X54R caliber. These light machine guns proved to be one of the best of the World War II era and both the Soviet Union and Finlandthe Finns made good use of the DP27 in the field. Finland captured over 3,000 in the Winter War and it became the most important light machine gun in Finnish service.

James Reed - Gunboards.com