Russian Space Shotgun

Russian bear gunA recent post on the site War is Boring, details how Soviet and Russian cosmonauts carried a shotgun into space aboard their Soyuz space craft. The gun wasn’t to shoot ETs — although it might have been pressed into service for that if needed — but to protect cosmonauts after they returned to earth. Soviet and Russian space flights don’t “splash down” they “dirt down.” Soyuz capsules land on the vast steppes of Russia, not the ocean. There have been cases when capsules went off course and landed far from their recovery team. The cosmonauts had to take care of themselves until help showed up. And that included defending themselves with the TP-82 pistol.

The TP-82 had two smoothbore barrels that used 12.5×70 mm ammunition, or roughly 40 gauge, and a third lower rifled barrel used5.45×39mm ammunition. You wonder if that was enough stopping power to counter a big, hungry Siberian bear.

Below is a European Space Agency photo of Cosmonauts undergoing survival training.

Cosmonaut training


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